(Sharecast News) - Markets in Asia finished mixed on Thursday, as investors digested fresh data showing an expansion of China's services sector.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was ahead 0.94% at 23,465.53, as the yen weakened 0.16% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 106.35.
Technology giant SoftBank Group was down 0.56%, while among the benchmark's other major components, robotics specialist Fanuc was up 1.12% and Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing added 3.58%.
The broader Topix index was 0.48% firmer by the end of trading, at 1,631.24.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was down 0.58% at 3,384.98, and the smaller, technology-heavy Shenzhen Composite lost 0.84% to 2,301.81.
The unofficial Caixin/Markit services purchasing managers' index, released during the day, came in at 54.0 for August, down slightly from the 54.1 reading for July.
It was still above the 50-point mark, which separates expansion from contraction.
"Overnight, the Caixin survey of Chinese manufacturing for August was posted, and it was 54, meeting expectations," noted CMC Markets analyst David Madden.
South Korea's Kospi was 1.33% higher at 2,395.90, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong slipped 0.45% to 25,007.60.
Both of the blue-chip technology stocks were firmer in Seoul, with Samsung Electronics up 3.68% and chipmaker SK Hynix ahead 4.24%.
Oil prices were lower at the end of the Asian day, with Brent crude last down 1.76% at $43.65 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate falling 1.66% to $40.82.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.81% firmer at 6,112.60, as fresh data out of Canberra showed a 4% contraction in exports month-on-month in July.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics said imports, meanwhile, were ahead 7% for the month.
Oanda senior Asia-Pacific market analyst Jeffrey Halley did note a "worrying" 17.7% fall in exports to China.
"Australian investors appear to be treating [that] number as a mere flesh wound, and despite China and Australia's tense relations, core exports will stay intact."
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 rose 1.28% to 12,055.05, as specialist dairy exporter A2 Milk managed gains of 2.68% after several sessions of negative movements.
Both of the down under dollars were weaker on the greenback, with the Aussie last off 0.51% at AUD 1.3695, and the Kiwi retreating 0.49% to NZD 1.4840.
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