Asian stocks finished lower as the economic data point to a sharp deterioration of the economic activity across all sectors. The U.S. initial jobless claims for the week ended April 18 registered at 4.427 million below the market consensus and below the previous week reading of 5.245 million. The last five-week jobless claims have now jumped to 26.45 million. The U.S. Manufacturing PMI came in at 36.9 below the previous reading of 48.5, making fresh 133-month low. The Services Business Activity Index registered at 27.0 below the March reading of 39.8. The Composite Output Index came in at 27.4; the March reading was at 40.9.
News that Gilead Sciences drug remdesivir failed to help severely ill coronavirus patients also weigh on investors sentiment.
Nikkei 225 finished 0.86% lower at 19,262. The Singapore Straits Times is 0.73% lower at 2,523. The Shanghai Composite is 1.10% lower at 2,807, while the Hang Seng Index is 0.39% lower at 23,885.
ASX 200 managed to end the session higher after five consecutive sessions of losses. Reserve Bank of Australia projects now a GDP contraction by 10% in the first half of 2020 and expects the unemployment rate to hit 10%. The index has lost over 21% in 2020 while it managed to recover almost 20% since the March lows. The technical picture is bearish as the recent rebound stalled at 5,500.
On the upside, immediate resistance stands at 5,263 the daily high. More offers might emerge at 5,353 the high from April 21 trading session. On a continuation to the upside, the bulls will be looking for an extension above the April top at 5,567.
On the downside, first support for ASX 200 stands at 5,207 the daily low. If the selling pressure persists, the next level to watch is at 5,107 the low from April 22. Next critical support will be met at 5,016 the low from April 3.