Asia-Pacific Stocks: Underpinned by Upbeat US data; China’s First Quarter GDP Slightly Misses Estimates
The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished higher on Friday with a series of economic reports from China the catalysts underpinning the markets.
Investors paid the most attention to China’s gross domestic product which surged in the first three months of the year from a year ago. Additionally, retail sales jumped in March, beating expectations, however industrial production missed expectations.
In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 29683.37, up 40.68 or +0.14%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 28969.71, up 176.57 or +0.61% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closing at 3198.62, up 4.29 or +0.13%.
China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3426.62, up 27.63 or +0.81% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 7063.50, up 4.90 or +0.07%.
China Says Its Economy Grew 18.3% in the First Quarter, Slightly Missing Expectations
China reported first-quarter gross domestic product a touch below expectations as industrial production disappointed but retail sales beat.
GDP soared 18.3% in the first three months of the year from a year ago, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said Friday. That’s slightly below expectations of a 19% increase, according to analysts polled by Reuters.
China also said retail sales rose 34.2% in March, topping expectations of 28% growth. Industrial production rose 14.1% in March, missing Reuters prediction of 17.2% growth. Investment in manufacturing fell 2% on an annualized basis over the last two years, which the statistics bureau spokesperson on Friday attributed to persistent business difficulties and lack of investment confidence. Finally, the unemployment rate dipped to 5.3% from 5.4%.
Japanese Shares End Higher on Chip Stocks Boost; Corporate Outlook Worries Cap Gains
Japanese shares closed slightly higher on Friday as heavyweight chip shares rallied, although concerns around corporate outlook capped the gains.
Chip-related shares gained after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd (TSMC), reported a 19.4% rise in first-quarter profit on strong chip demand.
Australia Shares End Higher as China, U.S. Data Spur Recovery Bets
Australian shares closed near 14-month highs on Friday as upbeat economic data from the United States and record first-quarter economic growth in the country’s largest trading partner China supported hopes of a global economic recovery.
Global stocks neared record highs after U.S. retail sales, jobs and Chinese economic growth data cemented expectations of a solid global recovery from the coronavirus-induced slump.
The Australian tech sub-index added 0.5%, tracking an overnight rally on the NASDAQ. Altium gained 3.2%, while EMI Payments firmed 2%.
Gold stocks shined as they jumped 2.9% on the back of lower yields and a weaker dollar. Newcrest, the country’s biggest gold miner, rose as much as 4.7%.