Asian shares manage muted cheer for China growth

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SYDNEY, Oct 19 (Reuters) – Asian shares held early gains on Wednesday as a barrage of Chinese data confirm the economy had stabilised on the back of government spending and a hot housing market, even if worries about debt continue to mount.

The initial reaction was muted with few fireworks in the figures and Shanghai stocks edged up 0.2 percent.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.4 percent, on top of a jump of 1.4 percent on Tuesday.

Australian shares firmed 0.3 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.17 percent.

Chinese gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 6.7 percent in the year to September, exactly as forecasted. Private investment remained subdued with government spending and property strong.

Other data showed retail sales rising a solid 10.7 percent and urban investment 8.2 percent, but industrial output disappointed by growing only 6.1 percent.

Figures out on Tuesday showed Chinese banks extended a surprisingly strong 1.22 trillion yuan ($181 billion) of new loans in September, capping a record nine-month lending spree.

Much of that growth has been driven by a booming housing market, that authorities are now trying to clamp down on without triggering a price collapse.

Sentiment had got an early lift from Wall Street which benefited from encouraging corporate earnings. The Dow ended Tuesday up 0.42 percent, while the S&P 500 added 0.62 percent and the Nasdaq 0.85 percent.

Of the 52 S&P 500 companies that have reported results to date for the third quarter, 81 percent had earnings that topped average analyst estimates, according to forecasts collated by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

One company seemingly disappointing investors was Intel , which slid 5.4 percent after the bell despite beating expectations on its earnings.


A report on U.S. consumer prices showed underlying inflation moderated slightly in September to 2.2 percent, leading the market to slightly pare back bets on a December rate hike.

Fed fund futures <0#FF:> imply around a 65 percent probability of a move, down from 70 percent.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said last week the U.S. central bank could allow inflation to run above its target.

U.S. Treasury yields dipped, in line with their UK counterparts, amid confusion on whether parliament will have to ratify Britain’s exit from the European Union.

British lawmakers are seen as less inclined to take a hard line on Brexit than Prime Minister Theresa May.

The news headlines caught the market very short of sterling and left the pound up at $1.2302, after a rally of 1 percent on Tuesday.

The dollar was steady on the yen at 103.82, after edging back from 104.20 the previous session. Against a basket of currencies it dipped 0.1 percent to 97.763.

The euro remained vulnerable at $1.0990 ahead of Thursday’s meeting of the European Central Bank where some investors wager President Mario Draghi will push back against talk of a tapering in its asset buying.

In commodity markets, oil prices extended gains as an industry group’s data showed an unexpected draw in U.S. crude inventories last week.

Brent crude was quoted up 49 cents at $52.17 a barrel, while U.S. crude added 53 cents to $50.82.