Japan jumps around 2% as Asia stocks rise; China’s GDP data ahead

Japan jumps around 2% as Asia stocks rise; China’s GDP data ahead

Stocks in Asia rose in Friday morning trade as investors await the release of major Chinese economic data expected to be out ahead.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 jumped 1.97% in early trade as shares of index heavyweights Fast Retailing and Softbank Group surged more than 3.5% each. The Topix index also gained 0.99%.

South Korea’s Kospi also saw robust gains as it surged 2.66% while the Kosdaq index added 1.44%.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia advanced, with the S&P/ASX 200 gaining 1.58%.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.75% higher.

China’s GDP release ahead

China’s GDP print for the first quarter is expected to be out at around 10:00 a.m. HK/SIN on Friday, along with data for industrial production as well as retail sales for March.

Investors have been closely watching economic data out of China, looking for insight on the magnitude of the coronavirus economic impact.

Analysts polled by Reuters expect China’s GDP to have fallen 6.5% from last year, a sharp drop from the 6% growth recorded in the fourth quarter of 2019. That would also be the first quarterly decline since 1992, when China began reporting GDP, according to Reuters.

US futures skyrocket

Meanwhile, US stock futures jumped in overnight trading stateside following a report that said a Gilead Sciences drug was showing effectiveness in treating the coronavirus. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures skyrocketed 761 points, pointing to an implied gain of about 748 points at the open on Friday. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures also pointed to Friday opening gains for the two indexes.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 99.887, slipping back below the 100 barrier.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.85 per dollar, having seen levels below 107.4 earlier in the trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6353, still off levels above $0.64 seen earlier this week.

Oil prices rose in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures jumping 3.41% to $28.77 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained 0.1% to $19.89 per barrel.

What’s on tap for Friday:

  • China: First quarter GDP, retail sales for March, industrial production for March at 10:00 a.m HK/SIN

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