Asian stocks mixed as investors digest US, Japan data

A currency trader closes her eyes at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, May 17, 2018. Asian stocks were mixed on Thursday after strong factory data from the U.S. helped spur gains overnight on Wall Street. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
A currency trader works at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, May 17, 2018. Asian stocks were mixed on Thursday after strong factory data from the U.S. helped spur gains overnight on Wall Street. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
Currency traders watch monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, May 17, 2018. Asian stocks were mixed on Thursday after strong factory data from the U.S. helped spur gains overnight on Wall Street.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
A currency trader watches monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, May 17, 2018. Asian stocks were mixed on Thursday after strong factory data from the U.S. helped spur gains overnight on Wall Street. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

SEOUL, South Korea — Asian stocks were mixed on Thursday after strong factory data from the U.S. helped spur gains overnight on Wall Street.

KEEPING SCORE: Investors shrugged off a report Thursday of weak machinery orders in Japan a day after growth data came in lower than expected, with the Nikkei 225 index jumping 0.7 percent by midday to 22,868.77. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was almost unchanged at 31,097.96 and the Kospi in South Korea was flat, at 2,458.90. Australia's S&P ASX 200 dipped 0.3 percent to 6,088.40 and the Shanghai Composite index fell 0.2 percent to 3,162.23. Shares were mixed in Southeast Asia.

MIXED ECONOMIC REPORTS: The Federal Reserve said factory output rose 0.5 percent in April after a flat reading in March while a broader measure of industrial production, which includes mining and utilities, rose 0.7 percent. The figures suggest that business spending may be picking up after lagging earlier this year. It suggested an improvement in the U.S. economy a day after Japan said its economy shrank 0.6 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier. Investors shrugged off data showing Japan's machinery orders fell nearly 4 percent in March from the month before, as analysts said demand for equipment remains strong due to worsening shortages in factory capacity.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: "A modestly positive pulse in overnight trading should see Asia Pacific markets marking time today," Michael McCarthy of CMC Markets said in a commentary. He said investors were taking higher Treasury bond yields in stride, even after 10 year benchmark closed just below 3.1 percent.

WALL STREET: U.S. stock markets finished higher on Wednesday, led by tech and heath care stocks. The S&P 500 index rose 0.4 percent to 2,722.46. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.3 percent to 24,768.93. The Nasdaq composite added 0.6 percent to 7,398.30. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks finished 1 percent higher at 1,616.37.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude oil added 26 cents to $71.75 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, it finished at $71.49 a barrel, up 18 cents. Brent crude, used to price international oil, gained 8 cents to $79.36 per barrel in London. It rose 85 cents to close at $79.28 a barrel in the previous session.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 110.18 yen from 110.39 yen while the euro strengthened to $1.1827 from $1.1809.

Must Read

Trump on sidelines as Clinton fills Olympics airtime

Aug 9, 2016

Clinton is taking advantage of the millions of Americans tuned in to NBC to watch U.S. athletes rack up medals during the Olympics in Rio

4 months after Japan earthquake, final victim may be found

Aug 10, 2016

Nearly four months later, the final victim of two deadly earthquakes in southern Japan may have been found

Father of Orlando shooter sighted at Hillary Clinton event

Aug 10, 2016

Father of Orlando gay nightclub shooter spotted at Hillary Clinton campaign event in central Florida

People also read these

Hearing on Johnny Depp domestic violence allegations delayed

Aug 9, 2016

A judge is briefly delaying a restraining order hearing involving Johnny Depp and his estranged wife because it is expected to span several days; depositions of both actors set

10 Things to Know for Thursday

Aug 11, 2016

Among 10 Things to Know: Criticism may be slowing Trump train; 'Grim Sleeper' sent to death row; versatile ESPN sportscaster dies at 61

Beyond 'Obamacare': State initiatives refocus health debate

Aug 9, 2016

Political activists are looking to state ballot questions to move beyond "Obamacare" and refocus the nation's long-running debate over government's role in health care

Weather, 20 December
Houston Weather
+7

High: +11° Low: -2°

Humidity: 83%

Wind: NNE - 7 KPH

Canberra Weather
+27

High: +27° Low: +17°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: W - 20 KPH

Roissy-en-France Weather
+6

High: +6° Low: -5°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: ENE - 7 KPH

Florence Weather
+9

High: +9° Low: +6°

Humidity: 97%

Wind: ENE - 17 KPH

Parga Weather
+7

High: +16° Low: +4°

Humidity: 100%

Wind: SE - 25 KPH