Asian Stocks Down as Chinese Economic Growth Slows By

© Reuters.

By Gina Lee – Asia Pacific stocks were down Friday morning despite another record run for U.S. stocks overnight, as investors digested a slew of end-of-month economic data in the region.

China’s fell 0.61% by 10:14 PM ET (2:14 AM GMT) and the was down 0.47% ahead of a weeklong holiday beginning on Saturday. The for April was 51.1, below the 51.7 in forecasts prepared by and March’s 51.9 figure. The was 54.9, also below March’s 56.3 reading.

In the private sector, the for April was 51.9, above the 50.8 in forecasts prepare by and April’s 50.6 reading. Investors now await the Caixin services PMI, due in the following week.

In Japan, the was down 0.50% as the country returned from a holiday. increased 2.2% month-on-month in March, higher than the 2% growth in forecasts prepared by and February’s 1.3% contraction. The contracted 0.2% year-on-year in April as per expectations but was lower than March’s 0.1% contraction.

In Australia, the was down 0.55%. Data released earlier in the day said that the Producer Price Index rose 0.2% , and 0.4% , in the first quarter of 2021.

Hong Kong’s slid 1.55% as the city recorded its first untraceable case of a COVID-19 mutant variant on Thursday. South Korea’s fell 0.89%.

U.S. shares ended the previous session on a downward note, even as the recorded a new high. Investors digested mixed corporate earnings as well as concerns that a global chip shortage could wipe out Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:) earnings-driven gains. U.S. Treasuries also weakened.

Investors are expecting U.S. government support to continue even after Thursday’s positive economic data. The U.S. rose 6.4% quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter of 2021 and 553,000 were filed over the past week.

They also continue to digest President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.8 trillion social package and infrastructure plans, as well as the Federal Reserve’s continued dovish monetary policy.

“All evidence still points to continued support from both fiscal and monetary policy against a backdrop of accelerating corporate earnings,” UBS Global Wealth Management chief investment officer Mark Haefele told Bloomberg.

“This reinforces our view that markets can advance further, with cyclical parts of the market — such as financials, energy, and value stocks — likely to benefit most from the global upswing,” he added.

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