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Asian markets mostly gain after encouraging data on China services activity

Asian markets mostly gained in early trading Wednesday after data showed improving services-sector activity in China last month. Markets started the day near session lows following Wall Street’s stumble after poor U.S. manufacturing data raised recession fears.

The private Caixin China services purchasing managers index rose to 52.1 in August from 51.6 in July, according to the Wall Street Journal. Data suggested that domestic demand was stronger than foreign demand and an employment measurement jumped.

On Tuesday, U.S. stocks slipped after a key gauge of the manufacturing sector signaled the first contraction of activity in three years.

On the trade-war front, tariff hikes by both the U.S. and China went into effect over the weekend, and President Donald Trump on Tuesday urged China to make a deal soon, since he said terms will be even tougher if he is reelected in 2020. CNBC reported Tuesday that Trump was so angered last month when he learned that China would raise tariffs on U.S. products in retaliation for fresh U.S. tariff hikes that he wanted to double tariffs on Chinese goods. He was reportedly talked out of it after top advisers warned of the effect that could have on the economy and the stock market.

Japan’s Nikkei NIK, +0.03%   was last about flat, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +1.32%   jumped 1.4%. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.17%   rose 0.2% while the Shenzhen Composite 399106, -0.32%   fell 0.1%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, +0.14%  gained 0.2%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, +0.54%  , Singapore STI, +0.44% , Malaysia FBMKLCI, +0.06%   and Indonesia JAKIDX, -0.20%   were mixed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.59%   fell 0.5%.

Among individual stocks, Nissan 7201, -1.55%   and Mitsubishi Motors 7211, -2.23%   sank in Tokyo trading after industry data found auto sales in South Korea fell sharply amid a consumer boycott against Japanese goods. Fast Retailing 9983, +1.38%   and Nintendo 7974, +2.91%   gained. In Hong Kong, casino operator Galaxy Entertainment 27, +3.27%   and property developers New World 17, +2.91%   and Country Garden 2007, +2.65%   rose. Chip maker SK Hynix 000660, +3.12%   jumped in South Korea, and Beach Energy BPT, -1.65%   sank while Oil Search OSH, +3.52%   surged in Australia.