Investing.com – Asian stocks were mostly down on Friday morning, with Chinese factory output continuing to expand but doubts creeping in over the U.S. economic recovery from COVID-19.
The National Bureau of Statistics said earlier in the day that China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for July was 51.1, higher than the previous month’s reading of 50.9, and indicating an expansion in factory activity.
Across the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. released dismal data on Thursday which showed that U.S. GDP collapsed by 32.9% in the second quarter and 1.434 million unemployment claims were submitted for the week ending July 25. Although the figures beat analyst forecasts prepared by Investing.com, investors are digesting the highest GDP collapse since the Great Depression.
The dismal data eclipsed tech companies such as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) posting stellar earnings on Thursday. The U.S. also continues to battle a surge of COVID-19 cases, with almost 4.5 million cases reported as of July 31 according to Johns Hopkin University data.
“It’s shocking no matter how you look at it,” Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Schwab Center for Financial Research, told Bloomberg.
“The virus is getting worse in a lot of areas, and some places have started to shut back down again. If you look at earnings in terms of beat rates, the results have actually been pretty good, granted the expectations bar has been set very low.”
Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 0.51%. The city reported a record 149 cases on Thursday, but the government reversed an all-day dining ban, which began on Wednesday, from Friday onwards.
Down Under the ASX 200 fell 1.82%. Australia continues to grapple with a surge in COVID-19 cases, with the second largest city of Melbourne reporting a record 723 cases.