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Asian markets manage muted cheer for China growth data

Asian shares held early gains on Wednesday as a barrage of Chinese data confirm the economy had stabilised on the back of government spending.

twitter-logo Reuters   Tokyo     Last Updated: October 19, 2016  | 11:07 IST
Asian markets manage muted cheer for China growth data
Photo: Reuters

Asian shares held early gains on Wednesday as a barrage of Chinese data confirm the economy had stabilised on the back of government spending and a hot housing market, even if worries about debt continue to mount.

The initial reaction was muted with few fireworks in the figures and Shanghai stocks edged up 0.2 per cent.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.4 per cent, on top of a jump of 1.4 per cent on Tuesday.

Australian shares firmed 0.3 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei rose 0.17 per cent.

Chinese gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 6.7 per cent in the year to September, exactly as forecasted. Private investment remained subdued with government spending and property strong.

Other data showed retail sales rising a solid 10.7 per cent and urban investment 8.2 per cent, but industrial output disappointed by growing only 6.1 per cent.

Figures out on Tuesday showed Chinese banks extended a surprisingly strong 1.22 trillion yuan ($181 billion) of new loans in September, capping a record nine-month lending spree.

Much of that growth has been driven by a booming housing market, that authorities are now trying to clamp down on without triggering a price collapse.

Sentiment had got an early lift from Wall Street which benefited from encouraging corporate earnings. The Dow ended Tuesday up 0.42 per cent, while the S&P 500 added 0.62 per cent and the Nasdaq 0.85 per cent.

Of the 52 S&P 500 companies that have reported results to date for the third quarter, 81 per cent had earnings that topped average analyst estimates, according to forecasts collated by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

One company seemingly disappointing investors was Intel, which slid 5.4 per cent after the bell despite beating expectations on its earnings.

POUND UP AMID BREXIT CONFUSION

A report on US consumer prices showed underlying inflation moderated slightly in September to 2.2 per cent, leading the market to slightly pare back bets on a December rate hike.

Fed fund futures imply around a 65 per cent probability of a move, down from 70 per cent.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said last week the US central bank could allow inflation to run above its target.

US Treasury yields dipped, in line with their UK counterparts, amid confusion on whether parliament will have to ratify Britain's exit from the European Union.

British lawmakers are seen as less inclined to take a hard line on Brexit than Prime Minister Theresa May.

The news headlines caught the market very short of sterling and left the pound up at $1.2302, after a rally of 1 per cent on Tuesday.

The dollar was steady on the yen at 103.82, after edging back from 104.20 the previous session. Against a basket of currencies it dipped 0.1 per cent to 97.763.

The euro remained vulnerable at $1.0990 ahead of Thursday's meeting of the European Central Bank where some investors wager President Mario Draghi will push back against talk of a tapering in its asset buying.

In commodity markets, oil prices extended gains as an industry group's data showed an unexpected draw in US crude inventories last week.

Brent crude was quoted up 49 cents at $52.17 a barrel, while US crude added 53 cents to $50.82.

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