Asian Equities Remain Subdued

Asian stocks traded lower across the board on Tuesday after a preliminary survey of China’s mammoth factory sector served up new worries over the state of the world’s second-largest economy.

China’s HSBC flash manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for March surprisingly fell to 49.2, marking an 11-month low. Last month, the final HSBC/Markit PMI climbed to 50.7 – the strongest level since July – while the country’s official survey remained a whisker below the 50-point level, which separates growth from contraction, at 49.9.

An unimpressive lead from Wall Street also damped sentiment; U.S. stocks edged lower as investors looked ahead to a light week of economic reports amid fluctuations in the greenback.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 turned negative at the close, down 0.1 and 0.2 percent each, to trade just below all-time highs. The tech-heavy Nasdaq sagged 0.3 percent, but held above the 5,000 mark.


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