Asia stocks trade mixed; Japan’s second-quarter GDP revised lower

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed in Tuesday trade, as Japan released revised gross domestic product figures for the second quarter.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.54% in afternoon trade while the Topix index gained 0.3%.

Japan’s revised GDP figures for the April-June quarter showed the country’s economy shrinking an annualized 28.1%, according to second preliminary estimates released by the Cabinet Office. It was worse than preliminary estimates released in mid-August, which had shown the country’s economy shrinking 27.8% on an annualized basis in April-June.

Tuesday’s revised GDP figure compared with a median forecast for a 28.6% contraction by economists in a Reuters poll.

Following the data release, the Japanese yen traded at 106.27 per dollar after seeing levels below 106.2 yesterday against the greenback.

The April-June period was “definitely the worst quarter” for the Japanese economy since World War II, according to Takuji Okubo, director for North Asia at The Economist Corporate Network. In the medium term, the Japanese economy is “on track to recovery,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Tuesday.

Still, Okubo said concerns remain over the pace of recovery to a level that “seems normal.”

Elsewhere, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed earlier gains to slip 0.57% lower.

Shares of Chinese bottled water firm Nongfu Spring surged more than 80% from their issue price in their debut in Hong Kong. The stock later pared some of those gains but was still more than 50% higher.

Mainland Chinese stocks also declined, as the Shanghai composite slipped 0.34% while the Shenzhen component fell 1.078%.

South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.64%. Shares in Australia also saw gains, with the S&P/ASX 200 trading 0.75% higher.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index dipped 0.1%.

Geopolitical tensions

Investors also continued to monitor geopolitical developments after China accused the U.S. of “bullying” as it launched a global data security initiative on Tuesday.

That development came as the U.S. continues to pressure China’s largest tech firms and convince countries around the world to block them. U.S. President Donald Trump also recently entertained the idea of “decoupling” from China, or refusing to do business with the country.

Meanwhile, tensions are also escalating between the U.K. and European Union, putting at risk chances of a post-Brexit trade deal in the coming months.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 93.131 after an earlier low of 93.029.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7276 after seeing a momentary fall below $0.726 late last week.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.14% to $41.95 per barrel. U.S. crude futures slipped 1.91% to $39.01 per barrel.

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