Asian shares sagged on Thursday after a retreat on Wall Street and falling crude oil prices rekindled investor anxiety over slowing global growth, while a mixed picture on Chinese manufacturing failed to impress markets. Japan’s Nikkei share average fell 0.5 percent while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.2 percent.
The flash HSBC/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) edged up to a three-month high of 50.4 from a final reading of 50.2 in September, and just a hair’s breadth from the 50.3 reading forecast by analysts. But the level of output in factories fell to a five-month low of 50.7, just above the 50-point level that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis, underscoring a cooling economy.
“While the manufacturing sector likely stabilised in October, the economy continues to show signs of insufficient effective demand,” said Hongbin Qu, chief economist for China at HSBC. Prior to the Chinese PMI, Wall Street shares slid on Wednesday after big gains in the past few days.
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