Asian markets waver on mixed signals from China, Japan data

Trader Andrew Silverman works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. Stocks are opening slightly lower on Wall Street as a thin batch of earnings gave investors little to get excited about. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Trader Edward Curran, center, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. Stocks are opening slightly lower on Wall Street as a thin batch of earnings gave investors little to get excited about. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Specialist Jason Hardzewicz, right, works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. Stocks are opening slightly lower on Wall Street as a thin batch of earnings gave investors little to get excited about. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Specialist Vincent Surace works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. Stocks are opening slightly lower on Wall Street as a thin batch of earnings gave investors little to get excited about. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Specialist Edward Zelles, left, works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. Stocks are opening slightly lower on Wall Street as a thin batch of earnings gave investors little to get excited about. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Trader Edward McCarthy works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. Stocks are opening slightly lower on Wall Street as a thin batch of earnings gave investors little to get excited about. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Trader Gregory Rowe, left, works with colleagues on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. Stocks are opening slightly lower on Wall Street as a thin batch of earnings gave investors little to get excited about. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

MANILA, Philippines — Asian markets were mixed Thursday as China and Japan, the region's two biggest economies, reported contrasting data.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.1 percent to 16,896.53. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was 0.5 percent up at 23,094.52. China's Shanghai Composite index fell 0.2 percent at 3,080.87. Australia's S&P ASX 200 lost 0.2 percent to 5,422.70. Southeast Asian markets were mixed.

WALL STREET: U.S. stocks took small losses Wednesday as energy companies fell with the price of oil and chemical and materials companies traded lower. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 53.42 points, or 0.3 percent, to 18,400.88. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gave up 5.17 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,170.95. The Nasdaq composite dipped 9.77 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,213.22.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "As the dog days of summer drew to a close, markets seemed to be steadily coming back into life yesterday, although not in the good way, more in the sell-off way," said IG market analyst Angus Nicholson. "This is setting up to be another difficult session for Asia-Pacific markets."

CHINA MANUFACTURING: An official monthly gauge of Chinese manufacturing for August came in at a better-than-expected 50.4, on a 1-100 scale with 50 marking the break between contraction and expansion. The results reflect improved expectations among factory managers and upticks in production and orders.

JAPAN'S MALAISE: A Ministry of Finance survey showed spending on factories and equipment in the April-June quarter was weaker than expected. The strength of the Japanese yen is pinching exporters who reaped windfall gains when the yen sank to near 120 yen per dollar. "Today's data on capital spending showed a fall that broadly matched the drop in non-residential investment in the preliminary estimate of Q2 GDP. The upshot is that the second estimate of GDP, due next Thursday, should confirm that the economy stagnated last quarter," Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics said in an analysis.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 25 cents at $44.95 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, it dropped $1.65 to $44.70 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 30 cents to $47.19.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 103.27 yen from 103.29 yen the previous day. The euro fell to $1.1154 dollars from $1.1161

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