Asian equity markets rose on Thursday following upbeat economic data from China and as the region’s earnings season got under way. The HSBC flash Purchasing Managers’ Index of Chinese factory activity in July rose to an 18-month high of 52, better than a Reuters poll of 51 and following the 50.7 final reading in June.
“It’s a very good strong number to start the third quarter with. It seems that [the government’s] mini stimulus are continuing to filter through,” said John Zhu, greater China economist at HSBC.
A record close on the S&P 500 index overnight also underpinned gains in Asia. The index posted its 26th record finish this year at 1,987 points. Focus now turns to a raft of U.S. earnings later on Thursday, including Caterpillar, Ford, General Motors and Amazon.com.