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Australia Leads Losses, Hang Seng Finishes Strong Month

Shares in Australia felt the biggest drops through morning trade Friday – Shares in Australia felt the biggest drops through morning trade Friday, with financials leading the losses. Hong Kong and China finished the morning session with gains despite a weaker-than-expected reading of China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).

Markets in Hong Kong and mainland China held on to their morning gains by the lunch break, shrugging off a reading of 50 in the official PMI for November, which was released Friday morning. A reading of 50 is neutral, signaling neither contraction nor expansion. Analysts surveyed by Reuters had expected the PMI to come in at 50.2, the same level as October.

Investors were also looking towards the start of the G20 summit in Argentina later Friday and any signals of a potential deal on trade between the U.S. and China. U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are set to meet during the G20. The U.S. administration has given mixed signals through the week, with officials suggesting a deal is possible but Trump saying that new tariffs are likely to be imposed.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was up 0.18% at 1:30 AM EST (05:30 AM GMT). The Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.44% and the tech-heavy SZSE Component was up 0.77%, having given up some earlier gains.

Through November, the Hang Seng has seen its biggest monthly recovery in six years, having risen more than 6.7%.

By mid-day in Asia Thursday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down marginally by 0.15% and South Korea’s KOSPI was down 0.5%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was down 1.25% to 5,686 and set for a third weekly loss in a row. The index has lost more than 2% for the month, following a 6.1% fall in October.

Financial have led the losses in part due to a government-backed inquiry that has punished stocks. The last hearing of the inquiry was scheduled for Friday.

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