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July 31, 2020, 12:22 a.m. EDT

Asian markets fall after grim U.S. GDP data

Stocks sink in Tokyo and Sydney, but rise slightly in Hong Kong and mainland China

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By Associated Press


Bloomberg News
Mount Fuji is see behind the Tokyo skyline.

Asian shares tumbled Friday as reports showed layoffs of American workers are persisting at high levels after the U.S. economy contracted at a nearly 33% annual pace in the spring, the worst quarter on record.

Earnings reports, a gauge of how well businesses are managing the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, added to the gloom. Some technology companies have bucked the trend and are showing positive results. But many companies are hurting.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -1.52%   tumbled 2.3% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -1.95%   rose 0.2%. The Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -1.47%   was about flat while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 -2.29%   gained 0.3%. South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -2.56%   slipped 0.2%, Taiwan’s Taiex /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 -0.92%   declined 0.3%, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.55%   fell 1.6%. Markets in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia were closed for holidays.

August tends to be a lousy month for stocks, noted Stephen Innes of AxiTrader Corp.

“Stock markets are looking extraordinarily corrective to the extent that we could be entering a pullback phase as we head into August, most commonly referred to as the summer swoon,” Innes said in a commentary.

In one positive signal, China reported its manufacturing activity edged up in July and export orders strengthened despite weak U.S. and European demand. The monthly survey released Friday was another sign the world’s second-largest economy is gradually recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

Central bank meetings for various countries are on the agenda for the coming week.

“Second-quarter GDP for Indonesia and the Philippines will also draw scrutiny, highlighting the impact of the pandemic,” said Bernard Aw, principal economist for IHS Markit in Singapore.

The Japanese government said late Thursday the nation’s economy was likely to sink 4.5% for the fiscal year ending in March 2021. It forecasts a return to growth in the following fiscal year.

Among the Japanese companies reporting earnings next week are Sony Corp. /zigman2/quotes/201361720/delayed JP:6758 -1.43%  , Honda Motor Co. /zigman2/quotes/200490352/delayed JP:7267 -1.93%  , Toyota Motor Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed JP:7203 -1.31%   and Nintendo Co. /zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed JP:7203 -1.31% .

Some companies are holding up better than others.

Japanese media reports said Toyota was on course to become the No. 1 automaker in the world again, overtaking Volkswagen, now the top manufacturer in global vehicle sales. Toyota’s sales were already recovering in markets like China, which is recovering from its early outbreaks of COVID-19, according to the company.

Overnight, the U.S. reported the economy contracted at a record-shattering 32.9% annual rate in April-June as pandemic shutdowns expanded.

News of the deep, steep collapse came as a resurgence of outbreaks has pushed businesses in many areas to close for a second time. The government’s estimate of the second-quarter fall in the gross domestic product has no comparison since records began in 1947. The previous worst quarterly contraction — at 10%, less than a third of what was reported Thursday — occurred in 1958 during the Eisenhower administration.

The bad news was no big surprise, and on Wall Street, the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -1.21%   dropped 0.4% to 3,246.22. Nearly three out of four stocks in the index declined. Among the hardest-hit were oil producers, banks and other companies that most need the economy to escape recession.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.59%   lost 0.9% to 26,313.65.

Stocks seemed set for a much steeper fall earlier in the day but stronger-than-expected profits reported by UPS and other companies helped the market trim its losses. So did steadying prices for Amazon and other big tech-oriented stocks, which reported their own results after the day’s trading ended.

Anticipation of their reports, which proved to be even better than Wall Street expected, helped the Nasdaq composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -2.45%   completely erase its early loss and climb 0.4% to 10,587.81.

But overall, earnings reports have been far below year-ago levels, before the pandemic struck. The big companies in the S&P 500 are on track to report a nearly 38% drop for the second quarter from a year earlier, according to FactSet.

Shortly after trading ended for the day, Amazon /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN -5.45%  , Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL -5.60%  , Facebook /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB -6.31%   and Google’s parent company Alphabet /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL +3.80%   /zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite GOOG +3.43%   all reported bigger profits for the latest quarter than Wall Street had forecast. Investors have continued to flock to them expecting they will thrive as the pandemic accelerates a shift toward online commerce.

Benchmark U.S. crude   gained 14 cents to $40.06 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude  , the international standard, rose 37 cents to $43.31 a barrel.

The dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY -0.0048%   slipped to 104.22 Japanese yen from 104.73 yen.

/zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed
JP : Nikkei
22,977.13
-354.81 -1.52%
Volume: 0.00
Oct. 30, 2020 3:15p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed
HK : Hong Kong Exchange
24,107.42
-479.18 -1.95%
Volume: 2.54M
Oct. 30, 2020 4:09p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
3,224.53
-48.19 -1.47%
Volume: 23.02B
Oct. 30, 2020 3:01p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed
CN : Shenhzen Stock Exchange
2,198.07
-51.51 -2.29%
Volume: 37.55B
Oct. 30, 2020 3:00p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed
KR : Korea Exchange
2,267.15
-59.52 -2.56%
Volume: 795,585
Oct. 30, 2020 3:32p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed
TW : Taiwan Stock Exchange
12,546.34
-116.57 -0.92%
Volume: 0.00
Oct. 30, 2020 1:33p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed
AU : S&P ASX
5,927.60
-32.70 -0.55%
Volume: 871,366
Oct. 30, 2020 5:20p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201361720/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 8,674.00
-126.00 -1.43%
Volume: 9.42M
Oct. 30, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
11.60
Dividend Yield
0.52%
Market Cap
¥10699.87 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥73.75M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200490352/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 2,435.00
-48.00 -1.93%
Volume: 3.96M
Oct. 30, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
21.32
Dividend Yield
1.81%
Market Cap
¥4204.38 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥68.28M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 6,803.00
-90.00 -1.31%
Volume: 5.21M
Oct. 30, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
12.46
Dividend Yield
2.06%
Market Cap
¥19020.93 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥81.43M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 6,803.00
-90.00 -1.31%
Volume: 5.21M
Oct. 30, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
12.46
Dividend Yield
2.06%
Market Cap
¥19020.93 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥81.43M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
3,269.96
-40.15 -1.21%
Volume: 3.01B
Oct. 30, 2020 5:18p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
26,501.60
-157.51 -0.59%
Volume: 506.32M
Oct. 30, 2020 5:18p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
10,911.59
-274.00 -2.45%
Volume: 3.18M
Oct. 30, 2020 5:16p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 3,036.15
-174.86 -5.45%
Volume: 8.40M
Oct. 30, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
88.90
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$1520.78 billion
Rev. per Employee
$351,531
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 108.86
-6.46 -5.60%
Volume: 190.57M
Oct. 30, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
33.37
Dividend Yield
0.75%
Market Cap
$1887.34 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 263.11
-17.72 -6.31%
Volume: 47.30M
Oct. 30, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
29.98
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$749.55 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.57M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 1,616.11
+59.23 +3.80%
Volume: 5.00M
Oct. 30, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
31.62
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$1100.62 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.36M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 1,621.01
+53.77 +3.43%
Volume: 4.33M
Oct. 30, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
31.71
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$1100.62 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.36M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled
US : Tullett Prebon
104.6550
-0.0050 -0.0048%
Volume: 0.0000
Oct. 30, 2020 4:59p
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