Asian Markets Mixed on U.S GDP Contraction; China’s PMI Data

Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed in Friday trade following a record contraction in U.S. gross domestic in the second quarter.

Japanese stocks led losses among Asia’s major markets, with the Nikkei 225 down 2.24% in afternoon trade as shares of robot maker Fanuc dropped more than 3% while the Topix index shed 2.15%. Shares in Australia also saw sizable losses as the S&P/ASX 200 fell 2.3%.

Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed by the afternoon, with the Shanghai composite shedding gained 0.3% while the Shenzhen component gained 0.96%.

China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for July came in above expectations at 51.1, according to the country’s National Bureau of Statistics. That was above expectations of a reading of 50.7 by analysts in a Reuters poll.

Meanwhile, the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong slipped 0.07%. The Kospi in South Korea gained 0.23%. Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded about 0.12% lower.

Markets in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are closed for a holiday on Friday.

Data released Thursday by the U.S. government showed GDP dropping 32.9% in the second quarter — the worst drop ever, with the closest previously coming in mid-1921. Still, the data print was not as bad as feared, with economists polled by Dow Jones having expected a 34.7% decline. U.S. weekly jobless claims also came in at 1.434 million, the Labor Department reported Tuesday, roughly in line with estimates.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 92.628 after declining from levels above 93.8 earlier in the trading week.

The Japanese yen traded at 104.24 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 105.3 against the greenback this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7212 after yesterday’s turbulent trading saw it slide below $0.716.

Oil prices were up in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures adding 0.47% to $43.14 per barrel. U.S. crude futures rose 0.4% to $40.08 per barrel.

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