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  • Asian markets ends mostly higher today

    Published on February 22, 2012

    Asian markets ended mostly higher today. Japan’s Nikkei-225 rose 1 percent; Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.3 percent; China’s Shanghai Composite index advanced 0.9 percent and South Korea’s Kospi inched up 0.2 percent. But, Singapore’s Strait Times index lost 1 percent. In economic news, China’s manufacturing sector contracted in February for the fourth straight month as new export orders dropped sharply in the face of the euro-area debt crisis, the HSBC flash purchasing managers index showed today. The PMI, the earliest indicator of China’s industrial activity, rose to a four-month-high at 49.7 in February from 48.8 in January. The PMI has been below 50, which denotes contraction, for most of the last eight months.

    European stock markets drifted lower today. Key benchmark indices, London’s FTSE_100, France’s CAC-40 and Germany’s DAX shed between 0.3% and 0.6% in intra-day trade. In economic news, private-sector activity across the 17-nation euro zone contracted unexpectedly in February, according to the preliminary Market purchasing managers index for the region released today. The index declined to 49.7 from 50.4 in January. A reading of less than 50 indicates a contraction in activity.

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