Asian equity markets were mixed on Thursday following gains in the morning session as attention turned to the region’s earnings season. Earlier in the day, markets rose on HSBC’s flash Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) of Chinese factory activity for July. The index rose to an 18-month high of 52, better than a Reuters poll of 51 and the bank’s final reading of 50.7 in June.
“It’s a very good strong number to start the third quarter with. It seems that [the government’s] mini stimulus measures are continuing to filter through,” said John Zhu, greater China economist at HSBC.
A record close on the S&P 500 index overnight also boosted sentiment in Asia. The index posted its 26th record finish this year at 1,987 points. A raft of U.S. earnings are due later on Thursday, including Caterpillar, Ford, General Motors and Amazon.com.