BANGKOK World stock markets were hurt by a tide of disappointing U.S. corporate earnings, but losses were cushioned by a report suggesting China's manufacturing slump may be bottoming out.
HSBC Corp. said its monthly China purchasing managers' index rose to 49.1 points in October from 47.9 points in September on a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 indicate a contraction. The result means that China's manufacturing shrank again, but at a slower rate than the previous month.
The results raised the possibility that market losses could "stabilize and perhaps even turn around," Dariusz Kowalczyk of Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong said in a market commentary. "This is an unusually large gain for this time of year, and the level represents a three month high."
Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.1 percent to 5,791.10. Germany's DAX shed 0.4 percent to 7,146.97. France's CAC-40 lost 0.2 percent to 3,400.71.
A day after suffering sharp losses, U.S. stock markets appeared set for gains. Dow Jones industrial futures rose 0.1 percent to 13,050 and S&P 500 futures added 0.2 percent to 1,409.50.
Asian stocks showed some initial resilience but then faded. Japan's Nikkei 225, after swinging between gains and losses, fell 0.7 percent to close at 8,954.30. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.3 percent to 21,763.78. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.7 percent to 1,913.96. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.8 percent to 4,505.80.
Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand fell. Mainland Chinese shares were mixed. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.1 percent to 2,115.99 but the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index fell 0.4 percent to 866.45. Indian markets were closed for a holiday.
Among individual stocks, South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix rose 4.1 percent after the company reported a better-than-expected net profit for the third quarter.
A surge in third-quarter profits at China Vanke, the country's biggest property developer, helped lift Chinese real estate shares. Xinhua news agency reported China Vanke's profits surged 41.7 percent year on year to about 5 billion yuan ($806 million). Shenzhen-listed China Vanke rose 0.4 percent. Hong Kong-listed Evergrande Real Estate Group jumped 3.6 percent. Sino Land Co. added 2.8 percent.
U.S. stocks sank Tuesday after some grim corporate reports. Big-name companies like Xerox and 3M reported lower revenue for the third quarter, while chemical maker DuPont said it will have to cut jobs and other expenses to make up for weak demand. UPS, the world's largest package-delivery company, warned that the pace of global growth remains uneven.
Benchmark oil for December delivery was down 29 cents to $86.37 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.98 to finish at $86.67 per barrel on the Nymex on Tuesday.
In currencies, the euro fell to $1.2932 from $1.2976 late Tuesday in New York. The dollar fell to 79.75 yen from 79.91 yen.