Asian Shares Mixed Before Crucial G20 Summit

(RTTNews) - Asian stocks turned in a mixed performance on Friday as minutes from the most recent Fed meeting added weight to expectations for a rate hike in December and caution set in ahead of the highly-anticipated meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in Argentina this weekend.

Chinese shares rose despite some disappointing data, suggesting that China's manufacturing activity continued to worsen in November.

The manufacturing PMI stood at 50.0 in November, missing expectations for a score of 50.2, which would have been unchanged from the October reading.

The non-manufacturing PMI came in with a score of 53.4 - also shy of expectations for 53.8 and down from 53.9 in the previous month. The composite index posted a score of 52.8, down from 53.1 a month earlier.

China's Shanghai Composite index gained 20.74 points or 0.81 percent to finish at 2,588.19 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.21 percent to 26,506.75.

Japanese shares hit a three-week high in cautious trade as investors awaited the outcome of the weekend meeting between the U.S. and Chinese presidents.

The Nikkei average rose 88.46 points or 0.40 percent to 22,351.06, the highest closing level since Nov. 8. The broader Topix index closed 0.48 percent higher at 1,667.45.

Petroleum stocks led the surge after U.S. crude oil prices rose more than 2 percent overnight. Inpex Corp rallied 3 percent and Japan Petroleum advanced 2.3 percent. Drugmakers saw defensive buying, with Otsuka Holdings climbing as much as 4.5 percent.

Murata Manufacturing, a manufacturer of electronic components, gained 2.5 percent after announcing its mid-term business plan.

On the data front, Japan's industrial output rose a seasonally adjusted 2.9 percent month on month in October, a preliminary reading showed. That exceeded forecasts for an increase of 1.1 percent following the 0.4 percent decline in September.

Overall consumer prices in the Tokyo region were up just 0.8 percent on year in November, falling below expectations for 1.1 percent and down sharply from 1.5 percent in October.

The unemployment rate came in at a seasonally adjusted 2.4 percent in October, exceeding expectations for 2.3 percent, which would have been unchanged from the September reading.

Australian markets tumbled as financials succumbed to heavy selling pressure.
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 91.20 points or 1.58 percent to 5,667.20, while the broader All Ordinaries index ended down 86.40 points or 1.48 percent at 5,749.30.

The big four banks fell between 1.1 percent and 1.7 percent as the banking royal commission reached its final round of hearings. Energy majors Santos and Origin Energy shed around 2 percent despite Russia indicating a production cut.

Beverage maker Coca-Cola Amatil slumped 14.5 percent after the company said its SPC fruit and tomato business will likely record loss in FY2018 of about A$10 mln.

In economic news, private sector credit in Australia rose 0.4 percent month on month in October, the Reserve Bank of Australia said - unchanged and in line with expectations.

Seoul stocks closed notably lower after the country's central bank raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time in a year, reflecting concern over rising household debt and property prices.

Investors ignored data showing that industrial production in the country climbed a seasonally adjusted 1.0 percent month on month in October, following the 2.7 percent decline in September. On a yearly basis, industrial production surged 10.7 percent after tumbling 8.4 percent in the previous month.

The benchmark Kospi dropped 17.24 points or 0.82 percent to 2,096.86, with tech shares pacing the declines amid uncertainties over the U.S.-China trade summit this week in Argentina. Samsung Electronics lost 3 percent and SK Hynix gave up 2.7 percent. Carmaker Hyundai Motor soared 7 percent on share buyback news.

New Zealand shares eked out modest gains, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ending up 28.66 points or 0.33 percent at 8,823.54, led by utilities such as Meridian Energy and Contact Energy.

Overnight, U.S. stocks finished lower after a huge rally the day before, as minutes of the Fed's November 8 meeting did little to alter perceptions of the central bank's intentions on future rate hikes.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 0.3 percent and the S&P 500 dropped 0.2 percent.
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