Asian stocks were mixed on Wednesday after a preliminary gauge of Chinese factory activity for April showed a slight improvement from March. HSBC’s flash purchasing manager’s index (PMI) for China came in at 48.3 in April, higher than the bank’s final March reading of 48, but still in contraction territory for a fourth straight month.
“It is slightly better than what I called for but I wouldn’t read too much into it. Leading indicators nowadays are giving conflicting signals but I think the property sector is slowing down very fast and that’s the reason why we’re very worried about the second-quarter GDP. We think it’s going to slow down,” said Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist at Nomura.
A strong lead from Wall Street overnight helped to lift sentiment in Asia. U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 extending its longest winning run of the year, on the back of earnings reports and high-profile deals in the healthcare sector.