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Asian shares mixed after China reports weaker manufacturing in June

Shares were mixed Friday in Asia after China reported slower factory activity in June due to weaker consumer spending and export demand.

Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul declined while Sydney, Shanghai and Bangkok advanced. U.S. futures were little changed and oil prices ticked higher.

Adding to signs that an economic rebound following the end of anti-virus controls is cooling, an official survey showed China’s factory activity contracted for another month in June as export orders decreased.

The world’s second-largest economy revived following the end in December of pandemic controls on travel and business activity. But that revival has faded due to lackluster consumer spending at home and weak demand for exports following interest rate hikes in the United States and Europe to cool inflation.

“Looking forward, policy support will be key to preventing a further deceleration in growth. Aside from some token rate cuts, officials have so far been slow to announce meaningful stimulus,” Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a commentary.

The Shanghai Composite index jumped 0.6% to 3,201.87 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.3% to 18,886.60. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 0.1% to 33,189.04.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.1% higher to 7,204.40, while the Kospi in Seoul picked up 0.6% to 3,201.64. Shares fell in Taiwan but advanced in Bangkok and Mumbai.

On Thursday, most stocks climbed on Wall Street following the latest signs that the U.S. economy remains stronger than feared.

The S&P 500 rose 0.4% to 4,396.44 and is on track for its sixth winning week in the last seven. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.8% to 34,122.42, while the Nasdaq composite edged down less than 0.1%, to 13,591.33.

Yields jumped in the bond market after data showed the U.S. economy grew at a 2% annual rate in the first three months of the year, much stronger than the 1.3% rate earlier estimated. Another report said fewer workers applied for unemployment benefits last week than expected, a sign that the job market remains remarkably solid despite much higher interest rates meant to slow the overall economy.

That raises questions over whether a long-forecast recession is inevitable. And such resilience could lead the Federal Reserve to see the economy as strong enough to keep hiking interest rates to drive down inflation.

The Fed has pulled rates higher at a blistering pace since early last year. High rates slow inflation by dragging on the entire economy, and they have already hurt the manufacturing and other industries while helping to cause three high-profile failures in the U.S. banking system.

Banks raked in some of the biggest gains. Wells Fargo rose 4.5%, JPMorgan Chase climbed 3.5% and U.S. Bancorp gained 2.9%.

The Federal Reserve said late Wednesday that the nation’s 23 largest banks would be able to survive a severe recession in its latest “stress test” of the system. Failing the test would have restricted banks from paying dividends or buying back their own stock to send cash to shareholders.

A stronger economy could also help banks make more money from lending, though higher interest rates could pressure their balance sheets.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned Thursday the central bank may have to tighten regulation of the system after several banks collapsed when rising rates knocked down the value of bonds they bought and other investments made when rates were ultralow.

Micron Technology fell 4.1% for another one of the biggest declines in the S&P 500 after forecasting a larger loss for the summer than analysts expected after Beijing ordered Chinese companies not to use its products.

In other trading Friday, the dollar fell to 144.74 Japanese yen from 144.77 yen. The euro weakened to $1.0864 from $1.0867.

U.S. benchmark crude oil added 8 cents to $69.94 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 30 cents on Thursday to $69.86 per barrel.

Brent crude oil, the international pricing standard, was up 17 cents to $74.68 per barrel.

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