Asian Equities Weathering Soft China PMI

Asian shares were weathering a soft reading on Chinese manufacturing on Thursday as it only whetted expectations for more policy stimulus there, while a sharp rise in British and German bond yields rippled through global debt markets.  The preliminary HSBC China manufacturing PMI for April dipped to a one-year trough of 49.2 in April, when the consensus had been for it to hold steady at 49.6.

Neither was the news bright from Japan where the Markit/JMMA flash PMI fell to 49.7 in April from a final 50.3 in March.  Yet markets took it with equanimity as it added to speculation that further easing would be required from central banks in the two countries.

Japan’s Nikkei .N225 was up 0.4 percent having touched another 15-year high, with foreign investors seen buying financials and other large cap shares.  Stocks in South Korea .KS11 gained 0.5 percent to near a four-year top, while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS added 0.4 percent and was just shy of its highest since early 2008.