Asian Shares Mixed Amid European Political Worries, China Data

Asian stocks turned in a mixed performance on Wednesday as a stronger yen and a fall in oil prices ahead of weekly U.S. industry inventory estimates later in the day offset better-than-expected manufacturing data from China.

China’s Shanghai Composite index rose 7.12 points or 0.23 percent to 3,117.18 after data showed activity in China’s manufacturing sector grew faster than expected in May. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down 41 points or 0.16 percent at 25,660 in late trade.

China’s manufacturing sector continued to expand in May and at a steady pace, the National Bureau of Statistics said with a manufacturing PMI score of 51.2. That’s unchanged from the April reading and surpassed expectations for 51.0. The non-manufacturing PMI came in with a score of 54.5 – up from 54.0 in the previous month.

Japanese shares fell as the dollar hit two-week lows against the yen after mixed U.S. data released overnight and new poll results showing that U.K. Conservatives could fall short of overall majority in next month’s national election.

Japan’s industrial production returned to growth in April, a government report showed, helping cap overall losses to some extent. Industrial output grew 4.0 percent from March, when it fell 1.9 percent.

The Nikkei average dropped 27.28 points or 0.14 percent to 19,650.57 while the broader Topix index closed 0.27 percent lower at 1,568.37. Energy major Japan Petroleum shed 1.5 percent after a slide in oil prices.

Banks Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Mizuho Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group lost 1-2 percent after U.S. Treasury yields fell to their lowest levels in more than a week on Tuesday. Panasonic advanced 1.8 percent after the company briefed analysts about its growth prospects.

Australian shares closed slightly higher as banks gained for a second straight day, offsetting declines in the materials energy sectors. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index ended up 6.70 points or 0.12 percent at 5,724.60 while the broader All Ordinaries…

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