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Asia-Pacific stocks dip as investors react to China’s manufacturing activity data, U.S. presidential debate

SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific markets dipped on Wednesday morning as investors react to the release of China’s manufacturing activity data for September.

Japan markets were lower, with the Nikkei 225 shedding 0.25% while the Topix index declined 0.41%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 also dropped 1.13%. Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was 0.3% higher.

Markets in South Korea are closed Wednesday for a holiday.

Chinese economic data watch

On the economic data front, China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for September came in at 51.5 on Wednesday as compared to 51.0 in August, according to the country’s National Bureau of Statistics.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had expected the official manufacturing PMI to come in at 51.2 in September. PMI readings above 50 indicate expansion from the previous month, while those below that figure signal contraction.

The Caixin/Markit manufacturing PMI for September is set to be released at around 9:45 a.m. HK/SIN. Chinese economic data has been watched by investors for further clues on the Chinese economy’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan telco shares mixed

Shares of Japanese telecommunications firms were closely watched following a recent shakeup in the sector, with Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) set to take over its telecommunications unit, NTT Docomo.

Shares of NTT fell 1.37% in Wednesday morning trade while NTT Docomo surged 20.82%. Meanwhile, shares of NTT Docomo’s mobile peers fell — Softbank Corp dropped 1.47% and KDDI declined by 1.18%.

The move by NTT comes as new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga calls on wireless carriers to reduce prices, according to Reuters, with the hope that the savings generated will stimulate consumer spending elsewhere in the economy.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.894 following its decline this week from levels above 94.4.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.72 per dollar, still off levels below 105.5 against the greenback seen earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7133 after rising from levels below $0.707 this week.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

  • Caixin/Markit manufacturing PMI for China for September at 9:45 a.m. HK/SIN

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert and Huileng Tan contributed to this report.

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