US private payrolls rose by 749,000 this month
Second quarter GDP slumped 19.8pc - slightly better than feared
European stocks fall after US presidential debate descends into acrimony
That's a wrap
That's all from us for today - thanks for reading and join us again tomorrow morning.
FTSE ends lower
The FTSE 100 has lost more ground in the last half hour of trading today to end about 0.5pc lower at 5,870 points.
Rolls-Royce took the wooden spoon with another 7.4pc slide to a new record low of 130p, valuing the company at just £2.5bn.
British Airways owner IAG made up a little bit of ground to be the biggest riser, up almost 4pc.
The mid-cap index had a better day than its blue-chip counterpart, ending 0.8pc higher at 17,315 points.
As we mentioned earlier TP ICAP was the biggest faller on the FTSE 250, down 16.4pc.
£16bn wind-up bill for Woodford investors
Investors in Neil Woodford's former Equity Income fund have had to fork out almost £16m for the assets to be sold off, adding more pain to huge investment losses suffered by savers.
Investment manager BlackRock has been paid nearly £10m since October last year when it won the contract to sell the bulk of the £3.6bn fund invested in listed FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 stocks.
This was after Neil Woodford was fired from running the fund and the administrator Link decided to wind down the portfolio.
Private equity specialist PJT Park Hill has totted up a bill of £3.2m so far for its role in trying to sell the hard-to-sell unlisted portion of the portfolio, much of which still has not been sold. Investors have also paid £2.5m in fees to law firm Debevoise & Plimpton.
More from my colleague Sam Benstead here.
UK lands first post-Brexit fishing deal
Britain and Norway have struck a post-Brexit deal on fishing rights - the first after almost half a century devolving those negotiating rights to Brussels.
Environment Secretary George Eustice says the new agreement with Norway showed the promise of an independent future and was "testament to our commitment to acting as a cooperative independent coastal state, seeking to ensure a sustainable and a prosperous future for the whole of the UK fishing industry".
Quotas laid down in the agreement will be renegotiated annually after it takes effect on January 1.
Norway is not in the EU but is part of the bloc's single market.
Foreign minister Ine Eriksen Soreide says the agreement offered "a framework for extensive fisheries cooperation with the UK".
Someone's going to be in trouble...
Pubs jobs 'bloodbath' fears
Thanks to my esteemed colleague for yet another bumper edition of business news - few things to update you with ahead of the London close in about an hour.
The boss of City Pub Group says it could cut at least a quarter of its workers after being hammered by lockdown restrictions.
Chairman Clive Watson tells the PA News Agency that the total could end up even higher.
The group has 48 pubs mostly in London and the south east and had about 1,000 employees prior to the pandemic.
City Pub Group has reopened 37 sites but expects job cuts at the remaining 11 sites when the furlough scheme ends next month.
"With the sites that are currently closed, jobs will go and we are now seeing how current restrictions will impact others," Mr Watson says.
He also expects a jobs "bloodbath" among pubs and hospitality firms when furlough finishes on October 31.
Time for me to hand over to my colleague Chris Johnston, who will keep the blog ticking over to the European close. Thanks for following along today!
TP ICAP drops after cutting dividend to fund takeover
A buyout bet has rattled TP ICap today, with the inter-dealer broker plunging after it set out plans to flash its dividend to fund a takeover of Liquidnet.
The group is staking growth plans on its $600m to $700m purchase of Liquidnet, which facilitates ‘dark pool’ trading – private exchanges in which major investors can trade without revealing their plans in advance.
TP ICap will aim to raise $450m from investors in an equity placement to fund the deal, as well as slashing its £94m dividend plan in half.
Shore Capital’s Vivek Raja warned the deal would dilute TP ICap’s shares, but added:
The acquisition makes sense to the extent it reduces the dependence on costly brokers for revenue generation and we can see how it might increase the combined business’s revenue growth and profitability potential.
He warned the takeover could “potentially increase tensions” with the group’s investment banking clients, who might become rivals.
The FTSE 250 group warned trading had slowed down since its last update in July, and is now “materially below” 2019 levels, adding:
Whilst September trading activity has started to normalise, in order to deliver the Group's previously stated guidance of low-single digit revenue growth in 2020 the Group remains reliant on higher market volatility and trading activity in the fourth quarter, which the Group expects will be driven in part by the US elections.
Wall Street drops
US stocks have dropped at the open, with investors still unsettled by last night’s presidential debate.
Babcock jumps after naming new chief financial officer
Babcock is another top FTSE 250 riser, jumping as much as 7pc after naming David Mellors – formerly chief financial officer of aerospace supplier Cobham – as its new CFO.
Mr Mellors – who had previously been tipped as a candidate for DS Smith’s CFO role – will fully take up the role at the end of November, replacing Franco Martinelli, who is retiring.
Babcock chief executive David Lockwood:
David has a successful CFO track record and brings considerable experience in defence, aerospace and commercial markets.
888 Holdings jumps after declaring special dividend
Shares in gambling site operator 888 Holdings have soared today, after it revealed a surge in first-half profits and declared a special dividend.
The FTSE 250 group’s profit before tax for the six months to the end of June leapt to £50.9m, compared to £22.2m for the same period last year.
Lockdowns across the world drove gamblers to the group’s websites, sending revenues up 37pc over the period.
Chief executive Itai Pazner said:
This outcome reflects the Group's continued strong levels of customer acquisition, general consumer trends towards increased use of online services especially during the Covid-19 lockdown period and 888's relentless focus on product leadership.
Stifel’s Bridie Barrett said the results were “extraordinarily strong”, adding:
Given the strength of current trading and the potential value of its assets in a consolidating market we anticipate both a rating and an earnings driven increase in the share price.
G4S board ‘unanimously rejects’ GardaWorld offers
The board of security outsourcer G4S says it “unanimously rejects” GardaWorld’s 190p-per-share hostile takeover attempt (see 11:31am post).
In a statement, it called the timing of the offer “highly opportunistic”, saying it is at a “critical inflexion point” in its strategy overhaul.
Chair John Connolly said:
The unsolicited 190p Offer launched today by GardaWorld is unchanged from the proposal that has already been carefully considered and unanimously rejected by the G4S Board as significantly undervaluing the Company and its prospects. Since rejecting GardaWorld’s last proposal, G4S has announced continuing resilience in its trading with underlying earnings ahead of the prior year for the first eight months of 2020.
The company added:
Shareholders are strongly advised to take absolutely no action in relation to the unattractive and opportunistic offer.
Shares are currently changing hands at 198.8p per share.
Everyman Cinemas swings to loss
Cinema chain Everyman swung to a loss as ticket sales plunged in response to widespread closures caused by the pandemic.
My colleague Ben Woods reports:
The Aim-listed company recorded a pre-tax loss of £11.7m for the 26 weeks to July, compared to £600,000 profit for the period last year. That was driven by a 44pc fall in admissions to 828,945, as the independent chain closed all 35 sites to meet the lockdown measures. Revenues also fell 48pc to £15m for the half year, but the UK's fourth largest cinema business has showed signs of recovery after it finished re-opening all venues on Aug 21.
Read more: Everyman Cinemas falls to a loss
US economy shrank at 31.4pc annualised rate in second quarter
The third reading for US GDP change shows a minor adjustment: the Bureau of Economic Analysis now thinks America’s economy shrank at an annualised rate of 31.4pc in the second quarter, down negligibly from the prior estimate of minus 31.7pc.
On a quarterly basis, that’s a 9pc fall (down from 9.1pc) – both year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter.
The title on the ADP payrolls change graphic in my 1:17pm post didn’t update. That has now been corrected, please refresh the page if you are still seeing the wrong one. Apologies!
Services and large firms drive gains
ADP’s breakdown of those private payroll changes shows the biggest gains came from large companies (although medium-sized firms were not far behind), and those in service industry:
ADP: US added 749,000 jobs in September
The ADP Research Institute says the US added 749,000 jobs this month – better than expected, but still fairly moderate given the scale of jobs lost earlier this year.
Fuller’s warns of 10pc job losses – BBC
The boss of pub chain Fuller’s has warned the group may need to lay off 10pc of its staff, the BBC reports.
The government's decision to encourage people to work from home will hit his firm's city-centre pubs, Simon Emeny told 5live, leading to job losses.“We are doing everything possible to minimise that, but sadly it is inevitable,” he said.The warning follows other similar ones from JD Wetherspoon, Premier Inn and Beefeater owner Whitbread and Greggs.Mr Emeny also criticised the 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants as "illogical" and "ill-conceived".
ADP report to show small jobs gain
Coming up at 1:15pm, we’ll get the latest figures on US private-sector employment from payrolls ADP.
Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect an increase of 649k, a relatively modest gain. The figure is often seen as a strong early indicator of how America’s labour market figures (due on Friday) will look.
ADP’s recent reports have indicated larger firms – which are often more able to adapt to at-home working – have driven to bulk of hiring.
Compass shares drop after £100m impairment warning
Catering giant Compass is the FTSE 100’s second-biggest faller today, after warning it expects a £100m impairment due to the pandemic.
The company’s revenues remain well below pre-pandemic levels, down 36pc year-on-year over July, August and September compared to a 44pc fall between April and June.
The group said it has dragged its way to a profit on a trading level, but warned the outlook is uncertain even as many of its clients – including schools and businesses – reopen their canteens.
In a statement, it said:
We continue to proactively manage the business, reducing our costs, rebuilding our margins and investing to strengthen our competitive advantages. However, the pace at which our revenues and margins will recover remains unclear, especially given the possible increase in lockdown measures in the Northern Hemisphere through the winter months.
After a wobbly start, European equities are stuck in the red. The FTSE 100 is fairly flat, with just over half London’s blue-chips falling.
M&C Saatchi shares face suspension
M&C Saatchi expects its shares to be suspended as the scandal-hit advertising agency struggles to meet a deadline for filing its financial results.
My colleague Ben Woods reports:
The group behind some of Britain's most distinctive campaigns is poised to file its annual results “within a matter of weeks” but miss the end of September deadline.
That will result in the shares being temporarily suspended from Thursday until the results for the year to December 2019 are filed.
The announcement is the latest twist in a sorry saga for M&C Saatchi after it became embroiled in an accounting scandal last year that sent shares plunging and prompted the resignation of founder Maurice Saatchi and three directors.
However, the company still gave an update on its financial performance on Wednesday because the audit process was “so close to completion”.
It said unaudited net revenues were up 2pc to £256.4m last year, with pre-tax profits falling 28pc to £18.3m over the period but statutory pre-tax losses widened £2.3m to £8.6m.
Read more: M&C Saatchi shares set to be suspended
GardaWorld goes hostile
Canadian security giant GardaWorld has officially gone hostile with its 190p-per-share offer for outsourcer G4S.
The offer, which was rejected by G4S’s board, values the company at £2.97bn. GardaWorld will now begin trying to talk investors onside, but several have already turned their nose up at its offer.
G4S’s price has jumped slightly in reaction to the announcement, hitting 196p in a sense investors may demand a higher offer.
G4S has a long history of overpromising and under-delivering and has consistently failed its stakeholders over the last decade…GardaWorld will bring experienced, professional management to G4S, deploying the resources necessary to solve the significant challenges faced by the business.
Chief executive Stephan Crétier said:
The G4S Board has behaved in a cavalier way by rejecting our potential offer out of hand. We look forward to meeting with investors to explain the challenges ahead and why this is a full and fair price for an asset which faces turbulent times and difficult operating conditions.
Boohoo shares dip
Despite some strong sales and profit figures, Boohoo shares have dipped sharply today – with analysts noting lingering concerns over the group’s supply-chain ethics.
Barclays’ Alvira Rao said concerns about the group’s governance have not been “fully put to bed”, while JPMorgan’s Georgina Johanan said the bank is “mindful that [Boohoo’s] management could face some uncomfortable questions regarding the supply chain”.
More on TSB closures
Here’s a statement on those TSB closures, from the bank’s chief executive Debbie Crosbie:
Closing any of our branches is never an easy decision, but our customers are banking differently – with a marked shift to digital banking.
We are reshaping our business to transform the customer experience and set us up for the future. This means having the right balance between branches on the high street and our digital platforms, enabling us to offer the very best experience for our personal and business customers across the UK.
We remain committed to our branch network and will retain one of the largest in the UK.
Read more: TSB closes hundreds of branches
BoE’s Haldane: Work on negative rates will take ‘months’
Even just assessing the feasibility of negative interest rates is likely to be take months, said Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane, pouring further cold water on speculation that Threadneedle Streets may go sub-zero in the near future.
A day after Governor Andrew Bailey said the central bank hadn’t reached a conclusion on whether to introduce a negative rates policy, Mr Haldane said:
The operational work necessary to assess the feasibility of negative rates is likely to take a number of months. After that work is complete, judgements on negative rates will depend on the economic outlook at the time and in particular on whether that necessitates further monetary stimulus
He said the UK economy had performed ahead of expectations, maintaining the bullish outlook he has maintained over recent months:
The economy has recovered further and faster, and has shown far-greater robustness and resilience, than anyone expected
He called for a “balanced and flexible” approach from businesses and policymakers, to avoid an “economic anxiety attack”, adding:
Planning for the worst is important, but needs to be accompanied by hope for the best. Encouraging news about the present needs not to be drowned out by fears for the future. Now is not the time for the economics of Chicken Licken. [He explains: “The fictional fowl who, having been hit on the head by an acorn, declared the sky was falling in”]
— Andrew Sentance (@asentance) September 30, 2020
TSB to cut over 900 jobs, says Unite
The union Unite says lender TSB has decided to cut a third of its local bank branches, meaning its workforce will shrink by 10pc.
The bank told staff that it will be making significant reductions to its headcount next year.
In August, my colleague Lucy Burton reported that 929 TSB staff had been told they had to retrain or take voluntary redundancy as cashier roles are being phased out.
Morrisons pledges 1,000 new jobs to process Amazon orders
Supermarket group Morrisons will create 1,000 new jobs to process orders made via Amazon.
The FTSE 100 company said the additional workers hired will be spread across 50 stores, which will cover most of the UK’s major cities and towns.
Amazon and Morrisons expanded a partnership last month, meaning the ecommerce giant’s premium Prime service subscribers can access the supermarket’s full range.
Boohoo sees strong sales growth as profits soar
Scandal-hit fast fashion retailer Boohoo reported a sharp rise in profits in the six months to September, shrugging off controversy surrounding its supply chain.
My colleague Ben Gartside reports:
Pre-tax profit jumped 51pc to £68.1m in the six months to September compared to a year ago, as revenue soared 45pc to £816.5m. The strong results came as the company faced harsh criticism over issues within its supply chain, with allegations of poor working conditions and low pay at Leicester-based suppliers. Boohoo now expects revenue growth the year to February 2021 to be between 28p and 32pc, up from the 25pc it had pencilled in.
The pound has snapped two days of gains to fall against the dollar today, as the mood once again darkens over UK–EU trade negatiations.
The European Union rebuffed Britain’s latest effort to unblock their deadlocked trade talks, a sign that the eight-month long negotiations will struggle to hit a key milestone this week.
The UK had sought to break the logjam by submitting a new round of proposals on how its state-aid rules will work after Brexit, according to two people familiar with the negotiations. The issue is one of the biggest obstacles to an accord.
Lagarde: ECB must improve its communications
European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde said it is worth examining an policy strategy that allows inflation to overshoot targets, while also saying the ECB needs to improve how it communicates.
In a speech today, she said an approach that allowed the central bank to run ahead of targets “could be examined” as part of the ECB’s current strategic review.
If credible, such a strategy can strengthen the capacity of monetary policy to stabilise the economy when faced with the lower bound. This is because the promise of inflation overshooting raises inflation expectations and therefore lowers real interest rates.
Such a step would echo the recent move made by the Federal Reserve:
Ms Lagarde also said the ECB need to improve its communications, highlighting how it talks to the public as a key focus of the review:
There is one issue, however, on which I can be decisive today: we must explain much better to the general public what we are doing and why, and we must talk to people that we do not normally reach.
This imperative has to cascade through all the elements of our review: our inflation aim, our inflation measure, our tools and their effectiveness, and how we take into account new challenges that people care about, like climate change or inequality.
Lagarde: We must explain much better to the general public what we are doing and why. Monetary policy can only be credible if we ensure that our goals are truly understood and shared by the people we serve. Read the full speech https://t.co/AudlhMlVPF
— European Central Bank (@ecb) September 30, 2020
Here are some of the day’s top stories from the telegraph Money team:
How can I apply for the £5,000 Green Homes Grant and will it boost my house price?: English homeowners can today apply for vouchers worth up to £5,000 or £10,000 to make their properties more environmentally friendly.
How to invest £60,000 in Britain's most stable buy-to-let hotspots: In the third part in our buy-to-let investment series, we’re looking at where you can invest £60,000 in a property where the local employment markets that have been least affected by the pandemic.
Former business secretary says five-day commute over
Former business secretary Greg Clark has urged ministers to introduce flexible season tickets on the railways as the age of the five-day commute comes to an end.
My colleague Oliver Gill reports:
He told the House of Commons that it is “a ludicrous anachronism” to expect commuters to stump up for full-price season tickets when they are not going into the office every day.The Telegraph revealed last month that the Government was planning three-day season tickets to entice people back onto trains.However, Treasury officials are understood to have opposed the scheme due to fears it could put Britons off returning to a five-day commute once a vaccine has been found, with devastating knock-on effects for cities such as London whose economies rely on massive footfall.
UK car industry faces post Brexit tariff risk – BBC
Britain’s car manufacturers could face higher tariffs even if a trade deal with the UK can be struck, the BBC reports.
Citing leaked documents, the broadcaster says:
Car parts from Japan and Turkey used in the UK will not be treated as British, so some exports may see higher tariffs.
In a letter, Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator says the UK has failed so far to get the car parts deal it wants, and “obviously cannot insist on it”.
Having enough parts sourced within the UK and EU is key to a free trade deal.
In a letter to the car industry, seen by the BBC, chief negotiator Lord Frost says one of their key priorities – that parts and components from Japan and Turkey count as British in any deal – has been rejected by the European Commission.
Full Story on Frost letter to car industry, seen by us, EU has rejected “in any circumstances” allowing 3rd country parts from eg Turkey/ Japan to count towards qualification thresholds for free trade deal, so tariffs risked on some exports even in a dealhttps://t.co/zHXYueSKYU
— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) September 30, 2020
After a slight drop at the open, the FTSE 100 inching higher, flattered by a falling pound. Elsewhere, European stock indices are in the red.
Business investment dropped more than a quarter
More from the ONS: UK business investment dropped 26.5pc in the second quarter, less than than the 31.4pc initially estimated.
Excluding a reclassification in 2005, that’s the sharpest fall ever recorded, and easily dwarfs the biggest declines (of 9.8pc) seen during the financial crisis. The ONS notes:
Estimates are subject to more uncertainty than usual as a result of the challenges we faced in collecting data during the coronavirus pandemic.
Brits saved money through lockdown
There’s plenty of interesting detail in the ONS’s full release, but here’s a figure that stands out: Britons saved almost a third of their income during the second quarter.
The household savings ratio soared to 29.1pc, compared to just 9.6pc in the first quarter of 2020, with households cutting their consumption spending by £80.5bn. The ONS said:
This is over nine times greater than the previous largest quarterly fall in household spending of this type. The reduction in spending is driven by large falls in expenditure on restaurants and hotels, transport – particularly air transport and motor vehicles – and recreation and cultural services.
The marries up with data already released by the Bank of England, that showed UK households used the onset of lockdown to pay down debts:
The CBI’s Alpesh Paleja notes the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee has monitored the households savings ratio closely as an early indicator of looming unemployment changes:
In this context, it's worth noting that the MPC seemingly put a lot of emphasis on the correlation between the savings ratio and the unemployment rate (or at least they did pre-Covid) https://t.co/5Jd04W8Z8A
— Alpesh Paleja (@AlpeshPaleja) September 30, 2020
GDP lowest since 2003
Here’s more detail on this morning’s GDP figures, which confirm output levels in the second quarter dropped to their lowest level since 2003 (the first quarter of 2003, to be precise).
As the ONS notes:
This is the largest quarterly contraction in the UK economy since quarterly records began in 1955 and reflects the ongoing containment policies that have been put in place, including public health restrictions and forms of voluntary social distancing.
UK house prices hit new record this month – Nationwide
House prices continued to rise this month, climbing 0.9pc to a fresh record average of £226,129, according to the latest figures from Nationwide.
The jump was slightly slower than the 2pc climb in August, but left prices 5pc higher year-on-year – the fastest rise since September 2016.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said:
The rebound reflects a number of factors. Pent-up demand is coming through, with decisions taken to move before lockdown now progressing.
The stamp duty holiday is adding to momentum by bringing purchases forward. Behavioural shifts may also be boosting activity as people reassess their housing needs and preferences as a result of life in lockdown
William Hill accepts Caesars takeover offer
More major news: bookie William Hill has agreed to a 272p as share takeover bid from its US joint venture partner Caesars Entertainment, which values the group at around £2.9bn.
The two groups’ boards said they “are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended cash acquisition”.
William Hill’s directors said they deemed the offer to be “fair and reasonable”. Earlier this week, Caesars said it could cut off a joint venture with the group if it acquiesced to a rival offer by Apollo Global Management.
The acquisition will be put to William Hill shareholders, a 75pc majority of whom will need to approve for the deal to pass.
Roger Devlin, the UK group’s chairman, said:
The William Hill Board believes this is the best option for William Hill at an attractive price for shareholders. It recognises the significant progress the William Hill Group has made over the last 18 months, as well as the risk and significant investment required to maximise the US opportunity given intense competition in the US and the potential for regulatory disruption in the UK and Europe.
Shell to cut 7,000 to 9,000 jobs by end of 2022
Some major corporate news breaking: Royal Dutch Shell says it will cut 7,000 to 9,000 jobs by the end of 2022 as part of efforts to cut costs.
The oil giant said the numbers include 1,500 people who have agreed to take voluntary redundancies.
It is targeting “sustainable annual costs savings” of $2bn to $2.5bn by the end of 2022 though “reduced organisational complexity”.
It expects impairment charges of $1bn to $1.5bn in the third quarter, with a “significant” impact on its LNG margins.
Just in: Shell to cut between 7,000 to 9,000 jobs by the end of 2022 in an effort to save $2.5bn in costs. Story to follow.
— Ed Clowes (@EdClowes) September 30, 2020
Economy shrank by a fifth under lockdown
Relief at that slightly-better GDP revision is likely to be limited: the reading is still utterly dire, with the minor improvement possibly reflecting better data gathering from the latter end of the period.
Economy shrank 19.8pc in second quarter
Just in: the ONS’s revised figures show the UK economy slumped 19.8pc in the second quarter – slightly less than the 20.4pc initially feared, though still dire.
Q2 GDP: No shift expected
Economists don’t expect any change to the ONS’s reading on the UK’s second-quarter contraction, with polling by Bloomberg pointing toward confirmation of the record 20.4pc slump.
As a reminder, the period covered – from April to June – broadly reflects the period of most severe restrictions across the UK, with the country in lockdown at the beginning, and many businesses only beginning to re-open at the end.
Agenda: Second GDP reading looms
Good morning. Stock futures fell overnight after the first US presidential debate descended into acrimony, with Europe markets set to open lower.
On the economic front, we’re set to get the second reading for the UK’s record second-quarter GDP slump at 7am.
5 things to start your day
1) Retirements in peril as Covid hits finances of older workers: The pandemic is wrecking millions of older workers' retirement dreams as crashing stock markets and a wage slump make it impossible for them to give up work, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned.
2) Issas face competition issue over garages near Asda stores: The billionaire brothers seeking to buy Asda own scores of petrol stations close to its supermarkets, according to new figures likely to spark scrutiny by competition watchdogs.
3) Greggs warns of job cuts ahead as furlough winds up: The bakery has launched a consultation with unions and staff over cutting workers' hours to avoid a major round of redundancies.
4) End of Covid support could trigger wave of company collapses: A wave of company collapses could follow the end of crucial legal exemptions giving directors vital breathing space to fight the pandemic, the Institute of Directors has warned.
5) Disney to cut 28,000 jobs as pandemic hits theme parks: Disney said it would lay off 28,000 staff in its giant theme parks division, blaming the ongoing Covid-19 crisis that has seen its flagship California park closed for months.
What happened overnight
Stocks were mixed in Asia on Wednesday while upbeat manufacturing data lifted shares in China as investors studied the outcome of the debate between President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden.
Hong Kong and Shanghai led regional gains while Japan's Nikkei 225 edged lower.
The Hang Seng in Hong Kong jumped 1.4pc to 23,593.51, but fell back from a 2.1pc gain earlier in the morning. The Shanghai Composite index surged 0.6pc to 3,243.79.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index lost 0.7pc to 23,366.81, while the S&P/ASX 200 skidded 0.8pc to 5,902.10. Markets were closed in South Korea.
Shares fell in Thailand and Indonesia but rose in Taiwan and Singapore.
Coming up today
Interims: 888 Holdings, Boohoo, Sumo
Full-year: Compass Group, Topps Tiles
Economics: 2Q GDP final reading (UK and US), industrial production (Japan), Caixin manufacturing PMI (China), unemployment (Germany), ADP employment change (US)