Asia shares ease as weak China data weighs

An investor looks at an electronic board at a brokerage house in Beijing
An investor looks at an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Beijing, August 27, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

HONG KONG, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Asia stock markets opened lower on Tuesday despite fresh all-time highs on Wall Street, as worries about China's slowing economic growth and regulatory changes weighed on investor sentiment.

MSCI's gauge of Asia Pacific stocks outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) slipped 0.25%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 (.N225) fell more than 0.3% in the morning session.

Japan's industrial output shrank in July as car production took a hit from a resurgence of the coronavirus in Asia that has cast doubt over recovery in the world's third-largest economy. read more

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index (.HSI) and China's benchmark CSI300 Index (.CSI300) opened down 0.1% and 0.2% respectively.

China's factory activity expanded at a slower pace in August as coronavirus-related restrictions and high raw material prices pressure manufacturers in the world's second largest economy, while services activity contracted sharply, national data showed Tuesday. read more

Beijing on Monday cut the amount of time players under the age of 18 can spend on online games to an hour on Fridays, weekends and holidays, which analysts expect to continue to weigh in on tech stocks.

"Chinese tech sector is under pressure. Divergence should continue when market faces a lot of uncertainties over Chinese policies," said Edison Pun, senior market analyst at Saxo Markets.

Australian shares, however, rose slightly for a second straight session, led by mining and technology stocks. The S&P/ASX 200 (.AXJO) was up 0.2% by 0130GMT.

Asia's cooler sentiment followed all-time highs set by U.S. and global equity benchmarks in the previous session, as the Federal Reserve appeared in no rush to step away from its massive stimulus. read more

U.S. crude fell 0.51% to $68.86 a barrel and Brent was down 0.56% at $73 a barrel in Asian trade as Hurricane Ida weakened into a Category 1 hurricane within 12 hours of coming ashore as a Category 4.

"Eyes on OPEC+ meeting after hurricane Ida's hit, short-term supply shock is relieved and OPEC+ meeting could mean more future supply. Crude oil may return to weakness after strong rebound for about 10% last week," Pun said.

Spot gold gained 0.18% to $1813.54 per ounce.

(This story was refiled to correct analyst surname in para 11.)

Reporting by Kane Wu in Hong Kong; editing by Richard Pullin

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