Asian stocks fluctuated, with the regional benchmark index trading near the lowest since mid-October, as investors awaited a spate of Chinese data for clues on the extent of the slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

About the same number of shares gained and fell on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, which added 0.1 percent to 132.87 as of 9:07 a.m. in Tokyo. The gauge closed at its lowest since Oct. 14 on Tuesday as slower-than-forecast inflation increased concern demand is weakening in the Chinese economy. Wednesday’s reports include data on retail sales, factory production and fixed-asset investment.

Japan’s Topix index was little changed and South Korea’s Kospi index fell 0.1 percent. New Zealand’s S&P NZX 50 Index added 0.2 percent, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.3 percent. Markets in China and Hong Kong have yet to start trading, while those in Singapore and Malaysia reopen after Tuesday’s holiday.

Chinese shares in Hong Kong fell on Tuesday, with the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index sliding 1.8 percent. The mainland’s consumer-price index rose 1.3 percent in October, official data showed, compared with the 1.5 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. The report was the latest to show monetary easing failing to arrest a deepening economic slowdown, after exports declined for a fourth month in October and factory gauges signaled the nation’s manufacturing still hasn’t bottomed out amid faltering global demand.

E-mini futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 0.1 percent. The underlying measure gained 0.2 percent on Tuesday as health-care and consumer shares rose after equities’ steepest decline in six weeks.

Source : Bloomberg