TOKYO (AP) — Shares were mostly higher in Asia on Wednesday, lifted by upbeat manufacturing data from China and Japan.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.6 percent to 19,146.09 and the Kospi in South Korea jumped 0.6 percent to 2,079.34. Australia's S&P ASX 200 gained 0.5 percent to 5,649.70. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.7 percent to 23,195.23. Shares in Southeast Asia were mostly higher. Markets in mainland China and Taiwan were closed for the lunar new year holiday.
FACTORY OUTLOOK: Chinese manufacturing expanded in January at close to its fastest pace in two years as heavy government spending and a bank lending boom helped to keep economic activity steady headed into 2017, a survey showed Wednesday. A similar survey in Japan showed manufacturing at its highest level in nearly three years, with strong new orders and confidence in the outlook for the coming year. "Reports of an increase in foreign demand was also backed by the survey data, with new export orders rising at the quickest rate in one year," HIS Markit said in its Japan Nikkei Manufacturing PMI report.
WALL STREET: Investors bid up assets that are traditionally seen as less risky, including gold, government bonds, and stocks that pay big dividends. The advent of President Donald Trump's administration has led investors to seek out safer investments, said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist for Wells Capital Management. "More than anything right now, it's just the pace of news," he said. "It is so dramatic." On Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.5 percent to 19,864.09 and the S&P 500 edged 0.1 percent lower, to 2,278.87. The Nasdaq was nearly flat at 5,614.79.
APPLE: After the market closed, Apple reported a bigger profit and greater sales than analysts expected as iPhone sales bounced back from a recent slump. The tech giant's stock rose 2.6 percent in after-hours trading.
ENERGY: U.S. crude oil fell 11 cents to $52.70 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 18 cents to $52.81 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, lost 14 cents to $55.44 a barrel.
CURRENCY: The dollar fell to 112.76 yen from 113.67 yen. The euro rose to $1.0803 from $1.0695.
AP Markets Writer Marley Jay contributed to this report.