Asia stocks down after lackluster China, US economic data

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TOKYO (AP) — Asian stock markets were mostly lower Monday after lackluster economic data from the U.S. and China.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 2.1 percent to 18,687.87 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.8 percent to 22,460.43. The Shanghai Composite Index was 0.5 percent lower at 3,367.06. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 1.4 percent to 5,165.80. South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.3 percent higher to 2,034.79. Taiwan also was higher while markets in Southeast Asia were mixed.

ECONOMIC DATA: A monthly survey of factory managers in China showed conditions were still weak in October, though the outlook was the best in four months. The Caixin index rose to 48.3 from 47.2 in September. Figures under 50 reflect a contraction. But an interest rate cut announced last month by Beijing will likely ease any impact of the lackluster data. In the U.S., consumer spending rose a feeble 0.1 percent in September.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: “Asia has not got off to a good start in November with Australian and Japanese markets seeing the worst of the selling from the open,” Angus Nicholson of IG said in market commentary. “We are certainly seeing a pull back from the strong October equity rally, although a weak set of U.S. data this week could be taken as a positive if it definitively pushes back expectations for a Fed rate hike into 2016.”

WALL STREET: Shares fell Friday but ended the month with their biggest monthly gain in four years. The S&P 500 lost 10.05 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,079.36, the Dow Jones industrial average dipped 92.26 points, or 0.5 percent, to 17,663.54 and the Nasdaq composite index slid 20.53 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,053.75.

ENERGY: U.S. crude oil was down 20 cents to $46.39 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 53 cents on Friday to $46.59 a barrel. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, rose 7 cents to $49.55 a barrel. It gained 76 cents on Friday to $49.52 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar was fetching 120.35 yen, down from 120.62 yen in the previous session. The euro rose to $1.1031 from $1.1009.

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