U.S. GDP, China manufacturing activity, currencies in focus

Stocks in Asia Pacific were set to trade lower at the Friday open following a record contraction in U.S. gross domestic in the second quarter.

Futures pointed to a lower open for stocks in Japan. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 22,315 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 22,240. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 22,339.23.

Shares in Australia were also set to dip. The SPI futures contract was at 5,986 compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 6,051.10.

Data released Thursday by the U.S. government showed GDP dropping 32.9% in the second quarter — the worst drop ever, with the closest previously coming in mid-1921. Still, the data print was not as bad as feared, with economists polled by Dow Jones having expected a 34.7% decline. U.S. weekly jobless claims also came in at 1.434 million, the Labor Department reported Tuesday, roughly in line with estimates.

Looking ahead to the Friday trading day, China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index for July is set to be released at around 9:00 a.m. HK/SIN. Investors will watch the data release for clues to China’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Markets in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are closed for a holiday on Friday.

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 225.92 points to close at 26,313.65 while the S&P 500 shed 0.4% to end its trading day at 3,246.22. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.4% to 10,587.81.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 93.021 after declining from levels above 93.8 earlier in the trading week.

The Japanese yen traded at 104.67 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 105.3 against the greenback this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7199 after turbulent trading yesterday that saw it slide below $0.716.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

  • China: Official Purchasing Managers’ index for July at 9:00 a.m. HK/SIN

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