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

SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific markets were mixed in Wednesday morning trade as investors reacted to the release of China’s manufacturing activity data for September.

Mainland Chinese markets were higher, with the Shanghai composite up 0.3% while the Shenzhen component added 0.563%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.89%.

Japan markets were lower, with the Nikkei 225 shedding 0.22% while the Topix index declined 0.47%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 also dropped 1.09%. Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was 0.35% higher.

Markets in South Korea are closed Wednesday for a holiday.

Chinese economic data watch

Meanwhile, a private manufacturing survey also showed manufacturing activity expanding in September, with the Caixin/Markit PMI coming in at 53.0. Analysts polled by Reuters expected the Caixin/Markit PMI for September to come in at 53.1 — the same level as August.

The private survey features a bigger mix of small- and medium-sized firms. In comparison, the official PMI survey typically polls a large proportion of big businesses and state-owned companies. 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 2.4% in Wednesday morning trade while NTT Docomo surged 20.82%. Meanwhile, shares of NTT Docomo’s mobile peers fell — SoftBank Corp dropped 1.76% and KDDI declined by 0.32%.

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 93.829 following an earlier high of 93.921.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.67 per dollar, still off levels below 105.5 against the greenback seen earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7134 after rising from levels below $0.707 this week.

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

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