Asian Stocks Hold Near 4-Month Low as Samsung Declines

A gauge of Asian stocks traded near a four-month low after a Chinese manufacturing index unexpectedly increased this month and Australian banks rallied, offsetting a slide at Samsung Electronics Co.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the country’s largest lender, rebounded 1.1 percent from a six-month low, contributing most to today’s gains on the regional gauge. TPG Telecom Ltd. surged 6.1 percent after earnings at the Australian internet provider topped estimates. Samsung sank 2.3 percent to a two-year low, for the largest drag on the regional measure.

The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index slipped 0.1 percent to 486.51 as of 6:32 p.m. in Hong Kong after rising as much as 0.3 percent. Japanese markets were closed for a public holiday. The regional gauge fell 5.5 percent from a six-year high this month through yesterday amid concern growth in the world’s second-largest economy is slowing more than expected. A preliminary gauge of China’s manufacturing activity published today matched the highest estimates in a Bloomberg News survey of analysts.

“With rumors that China is conceding defeat and will officially lower its growth target, along with speculation there won’t be further China stimulus, it was crucial for today’s reading to show some positive signs,” said Stan Shamu, a market strategist at IG Ltd. in Melbourne. “Today’s gains are primarily in the banks, which had started to appear oversold on most metrics.”

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index surged 1 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.1 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost 0.5 percent and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland shares listed in the city slipped 0.3 percent. China’s Shanghai Composite Index added 0.9 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index declined 0.5 percent and India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index slid 1.6 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex index lost 0.5 percent.

U.S. Futures

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.3 percent today after the underlying gauge yesterday retreated 0.8 percent, the most since Aug. 5.

The China preliminary Purchasing Managers’ Index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics was at 50.5 in September, up from August’s final reading of 50.2.

Today’s report contrasts with August data that showed weaker growth. The better-than-forecast result may ease pressure for stimulus that’s broader than the limited liquidity injections and expedited spending on railways that Premier Li Keqiang’s government has enacted. Finance Minister Lou Jiwei over the weekend damped speculation the government will boost economic stimulus.

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