Markets in Hong Kong and mainland China dipped on Thursday despite China’s manufacturing sector growing more than expected in August. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index and China’s CSI 300 both closed lower on the day. South Korea’s Kospi was also down on the day, reflecting ongoing caution over equities in the light of the military tension in the region
A raft of Japanese economic data showed a year-on-year fall in housing starts in July, but a near 15% increase in construction orders in the same period. Both the Nikkei and Topix indices closed less than 1% higher than Wednesday’s close
Commodity shares in Europe received a boost from the better-than-expected China data. In London the FTSE 100’s biggest risers were dominated by mining companies such as Antofagasta (ANTO), Anglo American (AAL), Glencore (GLEN), Rio Tinto (RIO) and BHP Billiton (BLT).
In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 was up nearly 50 points at 7,411. Germany’s Dax was also around 0.5% higher at 12,063 points as the German unemployment rate came in on forecast at 5.7%, unchanged from the previous month, but there was drop in the number of jobless people by 22,000.
France’s Cac 40 was up by a similar amount. Eurozone core inflation was a touch higher than forecast at 1.3% for August, while the unemployment rate in the single currency area was confirmed at 9.1%, unchanged from July.
Ahead of Friday’s key non-farm payroll numbers, there is a range of US economic data, including weekly jobless claims and personal spending and consumption numbers. In Canada, GDP for the second quarter is expected to come in at 3.7% on an annualised basis.
In terms of earnings, two more Canadian banks report – Toronto Dominion Bank (TD) and Canadian Western Bank (CWB). In the United States, Campbell Soup (CPB) and Dollar General (DG) also report figures before the market opens. Futures markets are forecasting an opening rise in the S&P 500.
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