Asian Shares Mixed After Chinese Data

Asian stocks turned in a mixed performance on Friday as signs of the gradual reopening of businesses around the globe, including the United States, were offset by concerns that a trade deal between the U.S. and China is in peril.

Chinese shares ended little changed with a negative bias as investors digested mixed data. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged down 1.88 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,868.46, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 32.27 points, or 0.1 percent, to 23,797.47.

Industrial production in China was up 3.9 percent year-on-year year in April, the National Bureau of Statistics said. That exceeded expectations for an increase of 1.5 percent following the 1.1 percent decline in March.

Retail sales fell an annual 7.5 percent – missing expectations for a drop of 7.0 percent after tumbling 15.8 percent in the previous month.

Fixed asset investment sank an annual 10.3 percent, also shy of expectations for a decline of 10.0 percent after plunging 16.1 percent a month earlier. The jobless rate came in at 5.8 percent, down from 5.9 percent in March.

Japanese shares ended notably higher as parts of the country emerged out of a state of emergency and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said that there is no need to cut rates deep into negative territory.

The Nikkei 225 Index climbed 122.69 points, or 0.6 percent, to 20,037.47, while the broader Topix closed half a percent higher at 1,453.77.

Tech stocks paced the gainers, with Advantest climbing 3.3 percent and Tokyo Electron rallying 2 percent. In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum surged 5.9 percent and Inpex added 2.8 percent.

Australian markets rallied, with energy companies and miners leading the surge amid talk of further stimulus in the United States and China.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index jumped 76.10 points, or 1.4 percent, to 5,404.80, while the broader All Ordinaries Index surged up 74.80 points, or 1.4 percent, to 5,492.80.

Higher iron ore prices helped lift miners, with Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue Metals Group ending up between 2.5 percent and 4.2 percent.

Gold miners also gained ground, helped by a jump in bullion prices. Evolution Mining surged 5 percent, Newcrest climbed 4.2 percent and Regis Resources soared 6.7 percent.

Beach Energy, Origin Energy and Oil Search gained around 3 percent each after oil prices posted big gains Thursday to settle at a six-week high on expectations of improving demand.

Bluescope Steel advanced 2.8 percent despite the company announcing it has been hit by a cyberattack that has impacted some of its global operations. The big four banks rose 1-2 percent.

Online shopping trader added 2.5 percent after it acquired retailer Matt Blatt for A$4.4 million.

Seoul stocks ended a choppy session on a flat note as investors cautiously watched rising diplomatic and economic tensions between the United States and China. The benchmark Kospi edged up 2.32 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,927.28.

New Zealand shares finished marginally lower after the manufacturing sector in the country hit its lowest ever recorded levels of production. The benchmark NZX 50 Index slipped 14.48 points, or 0.1 percent, to 10,730.68. Tourism Holdings shares plunged as much as 9.4 percent.

U.S. stocks ended a choppy session higher overnight as investors weighed weak jobless claims data against news that New York is poised to reopen parts of the state on Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.6 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.9 percent and the S&P 500 added 1.2 percent.

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