Most of the Asian equity benchmarks are trading up in the early deals on Wednesday after weaker-than-expected US service sector data released overnight bolstered expectations that the Federal Reserve will refrain from raising interest rates at its September meeting. On Tuesday, data showed the US Institute for Supply Management (ISM) non-manufacturing purchasers manager index (PMI) index fell to 51.4 last month from 55.5 in July. While levels above 50 still indicate expansion, it was the lowest reading since February 2010. However, Japanese stocks dropped after exporters and other cyclical shares were hit by a rising yen on dashed expectations for a near-term interest rate increase. Among the other Asian markets, Shanghai, Malaysia, South Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan are in positive territory. Bucking the trend, Hong Kong and Singapore are edging lower.
Shanghai Composite gained 11.02 points or 0.36% to 3,101.74, Taiwan Weighted added 85.66 points or 0.93% to 9,267.51, Jakarta Composite increased 10.54 points or 0.20% to 5,382.64, FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI rose 0.16 points or 0.01% to 1,690.08, and KOSPI Index was up by 3.90 points or 0.19% to 2,070.43.
On the flip side, Nikkei 225 declined 117.00 points or 0.68% to 16,964.98, Hang Seng dipped 64.74 points or 0.27% to 23,722.94, and Straits Times was down by 1.20 points or 0.04% to 2,895.35.