Japan stocks rise as business sentiment improves

BANGKOK (AP) — Japanese stocks rose Tuesday after a business survey showed mounting confidence among the country’s powerhouse manufacturers but gains were tempered by a U.S. government funding impasse.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo advanced 0.5 percent to 19,455.06 after the latest quarterly “tankan” survey showed a sharp improvement from the prior period. Large manufacturers were especially upbeat, with a reading of positive 12, up from 4 in the July survey.

The benchmark Tokyo index did shed some early gains following a key development in Washington: the U.S. government issued a shutdown notice for Tuesday after a sharply divided Congress failed to approve a short-term funding agreement before a midnight deadline.

The shutdown affects hundreds of thousands of federal workers and scores of agencies and operations. But some critical parts of the government, from the military to air traffic controllers, will remain open, and analysts said significant damage to the country’s economy was unlikely unless the shutdown lasted more than a few days.

“Markets have become more and more rational over the last 24 months, particularly when they’ve seen central banks … all working very closely together to make sure their economies are supported,” said Evan Lucas, market analyst at IG in Melbourne, Australia.

South Korea’s Kospi, after a higher open, fell marginally to 1,996.36. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained less than 0.1 percent to 5,221.90. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia and New Zealand also rose. Malaysia fell.

Markets in mainland China and Hong Kong are closed for public holidays and couldn’t react to a survey showing that manufacturing in the world’s No. 2 economy barely expanded in September.

Tuesday’s report by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing showed manufacturing expanded for the third month in a row. But the group’s purchasing managers’ index rose by only a fraction to 51.1 last month from 51.0 in August, less than economists expected.

The federation’s report comes a day after a private survey by HSBC also indicated weaker than expected growth in China’s massive manufacturing sector.

On Wall Street, stocks fell Monday amid worries over the budget fight in Washington. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.8 percent to close at 15,129.67. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 0.6 percent to 1,681.55. The Nasdaq composite fell nearly 0.3 percent, to 3,771.48.

Benchmark oil for November delivery was down 36 cents to $101.97 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract grade fell 54 cents to close at $102.33 a barrel on the Nymex on Monday.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3545 from $1.3522 late Monday. The dollar fell to 98.16 yen from 98.28 yen.


Follow Pamela Sampson on Twitter at http://twitter.com/pamelasampson

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