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China manufacturing gauges weigh on Asian stocks

China manufacturing gauges weigh on Asian stocks

Asian markets got the new year off to a sluggish start on Thursday after gauges of manufacturing in China declined ahead of a raft of reports on global manufacturing due out through the session.

The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index fell 0.5% to 466 as of 10:47 a.m. in Hong Kong. China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.5% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 0.4%.

South Korea’s Kospi Index dropped 1.2%. Taiwan’s Taiex decreased 0.2%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.1% and Singapore’s Straits Times Index increased 0.3%. Markets in Japan and New Zealand are closed for a holiday.

Shares declined after China’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index came in at 51 for December, the National Bureau of Statistics and the nation’s logistics federation said yesterday. That trailed the median economist forecast of 51.2 and was a decline from November’s 51.4 reading.

Separately, manufacturing PMI report from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics on Thursday showed the gauge coming in at 50.5, from 50.8 in November, in line with the median of 17 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

In corporate news, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the nation’s biggest lender, declined 1.3% in Hong Kong.

Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. fell at least 4.4% after South Korea’s largest automakers predicted their weakest sales growth in eight years.

BHP Billiton Ltd, Rio Tinto Group and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., Australia’s biggest iron-ore exporters, gained at least 0.4% as shipments from the world’s No. 1 exporter of the commodity resumed after a cyclone.

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