Asian markets outside mainland China were in negative territory on 8 October as investors ignored a positive handover from Wall Street. The region's biggest stock index, the Nikkei 225, eased 0.5% to 18,235.99 points at mid-day after official data showed Japanese core machinery orders – an indicator of future capital spending by companies – fell 5.7% from a month earlier in August, missing analyst expectations for a rise of 3.2%.
It comes a day after the Bank of Japan opted against expanding its stimulus programme despite stagnant growth and tepid inflation. Japan's finance ministry also released trade figures for August that showed the country's current account posted a surplus for the 14th straight month, while its trade deficit narrowed.
Exports were up 3.6% from a year earlier, missing expectations for a 4.3% rise, while imports were down 4.9%. The current account, the widest measure of a country's international trade, posted a surplus of ¥1.65tn (£9bn; €12.2bn; $13.8bn), beating economists' expectations of ¥1.22tn.
Chinese shares jump
Chinese markets reopened after the Golden Week holidays, with the Shanghai Composite benchmark index up 3.8% at 3,168.89 points. Overnight, stocks made gains on Wall Street as investors awaited a slew of third-quarter earnings reports from top US companies. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones share averages closed up 0.8% and 0.7%, respectively.
"US equities remained upbeat, as investors segued into the earnings season, although expectations for corporate profits were not cheery," noted Bernard Aw, market analyst at trading firm IG in Singapore. "Weak global demand and a relatively strong USD are expected to be major dampeners on US earnings."
Shares in Hong Kong were lower, with the Hang Sang retreating 0.7% to 22,360.98. Elsewhere, South Korea's Kospi was down by 0.2% at 2,001.60 while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.6% to 5,227.10 points. India's Sensex index was up 0.3% at the open.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund warned that the global financial system faced downside risks from developing countries such as China.