By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Asian markets were mixed in early trading Friday, as new data showed worse-than-expected economic growth in China.
China’s economy expanded at a 6% rate year-over-year, official data showed, less than the median 6.1% forecast by economists polled by the Wall Street Journal, and the worst pace of growth since the first quarter of 1992. It was the second straight month of weaker year-on-year data. China expects annual GDP growth of 6% to 6.5% this year, down from last year’s 6.6% growth.
Still, investors appeared relieved the numbers weren’t worse, considering the ongoing tariff war with the U.S. and signs of a global slowdown.
“While the GDP is testing the lower bound of the official annual 6-6.5% target, today’s data suggests there is a very limited risk of breaching the lower bounds of that target this year,” Stephen Innes, Asia-Pacific market strategist for AxiTrader, wrote in a note. “While risk asset is not flashing all green, markets can breathe a sigh of relief.”
Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.35% rose 0.6% as a core inflation reading fell to 0.3% in September, the lowest level since April 2017, but in line with analysts’ expectations. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -0.49% fell 0.1% giving up early gains, while the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +0.40% fell 0.2% and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 -0.70% was last about flat. South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -0.14% was flat as well, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 -0.04% , Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -0.26% , Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX -0.39% and Malaysia /zigman2/quotes/210598052/delayed MY:FBMKLCI -1.02% were little changed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.24% slipped 0.6%.
Among individual stocks, robotics maker Fanuc /zigman2/quotes/202054799/delayed JP:6954 -1.28% gained in Tokyo trading, along with Rakuten /zigman2/quotes/201861450/delayed JP:4755 +0.15% and Fast Retailing /zigman2/quotes/200663563/delayed JP:9983 -0.84% . In Hong Kong, Sunny Optical /zigman2/quotes/206687505/delayed HK:2382 -3.22% and AIA /zigman2/quotes/203565558/delayed HK:1299 -0.53% gained, while property developers such as Wharf Real Estate /zigman2/quotes/205885756/delayed HK:1997 +2.87% retreated after big gains Thursday. Kia Motors /zigman2/quotes/206019389/delayed KR:000270 -0.76% gained in South Korea, while Westpac /zigman2/quotes/203084975/delayed AU:WBC +0.50% and Commonwealth Bank /zigman2/quotes/200638713/delayed AU:CBA +1.10% slipped in Australia.