Markets mixed after Trump-Biden debate; data lifts China

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A man looks at screens showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. Stocks are mixed Wednesday, Sept. 30, in Asia as investors wait for the first debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)

Stocks were mixed in Asia on Wednesday while upbeat manufacturing data lifted shares in China as investors studied the outcome of the debate between President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden.

Hong Kong and Shanghai led regional gains while Japan’s Nikkei 225 edged lower. Overnight, the S&P 500 lost 0.5% as heavy selling of banks helped reverse some of the gains the market a day earlier.

Investors remain cautious with COVID-19 infections on the rise again in the U.S. and elsewhere. The Trump-Biden debate occurred as coronavirus deaths worldwide have surpassed 1 million. Many millions of people worldwide are jobless.

A survey of Chinese manufacturers, t he Caixin manufacturing purchasing manager's index, showed economic activity accelerating further in September as businesses recovered from the downturn earlier this year due to the pandemic.

The Caixin manufacturing PMI slipped to 53.0 from 53.1 in August, on a scale of 1-100 where 50 marks the cutoff between contraction and expansion. China's official manufacturing PMI rose to 51.5 from 51.0, its highest level in two years.

“The economic recovery has picked up pace with supply and both domestic as well as overseas demand improving," Stephen Innes of AxiCorp said in a commentary.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong jumped 1.4% to 23,593.51, but fell back from a 2.1% gain earlier in the morning. The Shanghai Composite index surged 0.6% to 3,243.79.

Overnight, stocks ended with moderate losses Tuesday as investors waited for the first debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden.