Asian shares mixed as investors on corporate earnings watch

Shares were mixed Monday in Asia, with Chinese markets shrugging off weaker manufacturing indicators while Japan’s Nikkei index sagged as the yen surged against the dollar. A raft of corporate earnings is due out Monday.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.1 percent to 19,944.84 and the Kospi in South Korea was flat at 2,400.09. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 1.0 percent to 27,249.01 and the Shanghai Composite index climbed 0.6 percent to 3,273.75. The S&P ASX 200 of Australia gained 0.4 percent to 5,724.70 and India’s Sensex added 0.4 percent to 32,440.05. Shares in Southeast Asia were mostly lower.

EARNINGS WATCH: Some 350 companies are due to release second quarter earnings on Monday just in Japan, and investors are watching for more upbeat reports following earlier strong results in the region, as well as in the U.S. Results from a little more than half of the companies in the S&P 500 have been mostly encouraging.

ANALYST COMMENT: “With 57 percent of the companies on the comprehensive S&P 500 index reported so far, it is unavoidable for us to discuss earnings performances. On a broad level we have seen both sales and earnings surprise largely match up to the strong Q1 performance, keeping the markets going,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary. “The new week brings another one-fourth of the companies on the S&P 500 index which could see the focus slightly moderate and shift toward earnings here in Asia instead.”

NORTH KOREA: The United States flew two supersonic bombers over the Korean Peninsula on Sunday in a show of force against North Korea following an intercontinental ballistic missile test late Friday. The U.S. also said it conducted a successful test of a missile defense system located in Alaska. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said spoke with President Donald Trump and agreed to take further action against North Korea. Abe said Japan would join with the U.S. in pursuing concrete steps to fortify its defense system and capabilities and do its utmost to safeguard national security. Tensions over North Korea helped push the Japanese yen, viewed as a “safe haven” currency, sharply higher against the U.S. dollar, hurting exporters’ shares.

CHINA FACTORY DATA: A manufacturing survey showed Chinese factory activity eased in July as demand for exports weakened. The monthly purchasing managers’ index released Monday slipped to 51.4 last month from 51.7 in the previous month. The reading is based on a 100-point scale on…

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