Asia Pacific stocks rise; China’s August manufacturing activity data ahead

Stocks in Asia Pacific were higher in Monday morning trade as the number of reported Covid-19 cases globally crosses the 25 million mark.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 1.34% while the Topix index advanced 1.26%.

Developments in Japanese politics will be watched by investors on Monday, as the search for the country’s new prime minister continues after longstanding incumbent Shinzo Abe announced a surprise resignation on Friday due to health reasons.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.35 per dollar, after strengthening sharply from levels above 106.5 against the greenback late last week.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.93%. The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia hovered above the flatline.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.19% higher.

On the economic data front, China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for August is set to be released at around 9:00 a.m. HK/SIN on Monday.

Japanese trading firm stocks jump

In corporate developments, shares of Japanese trading firms Mitubishi Corp., Itochu Corp., Marubeni Corp., Mitsui & Co. and Sumitomo Corp. soared in Monday morning trade after Warren Buffett announced that his firm Berkshire Hathaway has acquired a slightly more than 5% stake in the companies.

Shares of Mitsubishi jumped 6.84% while Itochu gained 4.95%. Marubeni soared 9.29% and Mitsui gained 6.17%, Sumitomo rose 8.65%.

The situation surrounding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will also likely be watched by investors, with data from Johns Hopkins University showing the number of reported Covid-19 cases worldwide surpassing 25 million. India, among the countries with the highest number of reported virus cases, recently registered the biggest single-day spike globally since the pandemic began, according to the Associated Press.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 92.217 after seeing levels above 93.2 last week.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7373 after rising from levels below $0.726 last week.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.39% to $45.99 per barrel. U.S. crude futures added 0.26% to $43.08 per barrel.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

  • China: Official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for August at 9:00 a.m. HK/SIN