Investing.com - Chinese stocks turned negative in afternoon trade on Thursday after opening higher earlier in the day, as official data showed China’s industrial profits fell for the first time since December 2015.
The Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component both slipped 0.2% by 1:22 AM ET (06:22 GMT). Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was also down 0.5%.
The fall in Chinese stocks came after data showed the country’s industrial profits fell 1.8% to 594.8 billion yuan in November from a year earlier.
The decline was due to slowing growth in sales and producer prices, and rising costs, He ping of the statistics bureau said in a statement accompanying the data.
Rising trade tensions with the United States also piled pressure on China's manufacturing sector, analysts said, although recent reports seemed to suggest there may be some progress made on the trade issues between the two countries.
Citing two people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported that a U.S. government delegation would hold trade talks with Chinese officials in the week of Jan. 7.
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish will lead the Trump administration’s team, which will also include Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs David Malpass, Bloomberg said.
Meanwhile, Japan’s Nikkei 225 outperformed its regional peers and surged 3.9% in afternoon trade. Australia’s ASX 200 gained 1.9%, while South Korea’s KOSPI was little changed at 2035.6.
Overnight, Wall Street recovered from the steep losses suffered in the previous session and recorded the biggest rally since 2009.
U.S. stocks gained as White House’s economic adviser Kevin Hassett told reporters that Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell 's job was not in jeopardy, easing some market worries about his future.
U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticised the Fed over the past few days, calling it "the only problem our economy has" in a tweet. Trump also said on Tuesday that the Fed was "raising interest rates too fast because they think the economy is so good."
The central bank has hiked overnight rates four times this year.
In other news, the Wall Street Journal reported citing an agency spokeswoman that the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis and Census Bureau will not publish economic data during the ongoing partial government shutdown.