Japan stocks fall after economy contracts, other markets up

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A man walks past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. Japanese stocks sank while other Asian markets gained Monday after Japan reported a record economic contraction as the coronavirus pandemic weighed on retailing, investment and exports. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

BEIJING – Japanese stocks sank while other Asian markets gained Monday after Japan reported a record economic contraction as the coronavirus pandemic weighed on retailing, investment and exports.

Investors in Asia looked ahead to central bank meetings this week in China, Indonesia and the Philippines, with few other market-moving events in sight.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo fell 0.6% to 23,145.28 after the data showed the world’s third-largest economy shrank 27.8% from a year earlier in the three months ending in June. That was bigger than the country's deepest decline during 2008-09 financial crisis.

The quarterly decline was 7.8%, not quite as sharp as the 9.5% drop for the U.S. economy for the last quarter. But Japan's economy was already growing very slowly when it fell into recession late last year. And the current slowdown came without any full shutdowns to control the pandemic.

“The road ahead looks choppy as a resurgence in Covid cases will weigh on domestic and overseas spending,” said Stefan Angrick of Oxford Economics in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.9% to 3,423.56 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.2% to 25,502.45. South Korean markets were closed for a holiday.

The S&P-ASX 200 in Sydney shed 0.6% to 6,092.10. New Zealand and Singapore advanced.

Wall Street ended last week little-changed.