Japan Folds after Historic U.S. Contraction

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

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 thundered lower 629.23 points, or 2.8%, to end the week at the month at 21,710, as shares of conglomerate Softbank Group dropped 4.4%.

The Japanese yen traded at 104.35 per U.S. dollar after strengthening from levels above 105.3 against the greenback this week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng lost 115.24 points, or 0.5%, to 24,595.35.

Data released Thursday by the U.S. government showed Gross Domestic Product 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. Weekly jobless claims also came in at 1.434 million, the U.S. Labor Department reported Tuesday, roughly in line with estimates.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7217 after yesterday’s turbulent trading saw it slide below $0.716.


The CSI 300 gained 38.9 points, or 0.8%, to 4,695.05.

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. Analysts polled by Reuters expected a reading of 50.7.

In other markets

Markets in Singapore were shuttered Friday for holiday.

In Korea, the Kospi slumped 17.64 points, or 0.8%, to 2,249.37

In Taiwan, the Taiex index slumbered 58.12 points, or 0.5%, to 12,644.80

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 jumped 35.6 points, or 0.3%, to 11,727.63

In Australia, the ASX 200 dropped 123.3 points, or 2%, to 5,927.78