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Are Stock Investors Overreacting to China's GDP Lag? One Big Investor Thinks So

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China's GDP growth furthered the narrative that the global economy is decelerating at a consistent and notable rate.

U.S. stocks sold off, but a second glance at China's results could paint a different picture than what the market currently perceives.

China's GDP grew at a 6% annualized rate in September, missing expectations of 6.1%, according to a Reuters poll of analysts. The 6% rate is the lowest the country has seen in 30 years.

China's export volumes have also been contracting, a negative indication for global economic demand, as the European Union is a major trading partner of China's, as is the U.S. even with the trade war in full swing.

All three major U.S. indexes fell Friday, with the S&P 500 losing as much as 0.22% on the day. China-exposed stocks like chipmakers fell noticeably. Nvidia (NVDA) - Get NVIDIA Corporation Report , Intel (INTC) - Get Intel Corporation Report , AMD (AMD) - Get Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Report , Qualcomm (QCOM) - Get QUALCOMM Incorporated Report and Micron (MU) - Get Micron Technology Inc. Report fell 1.9%, 0.7%, 0.7%, 1.4% and 4.2%, respectively.

Elsewhere, industrial giants deriving significant portions of their revenue from China, Boeing (BA) - Get The Boeing Company Report and Caterpillar (CAT) - Get Caterpillar Inc. Report saw their shares drop 6.2% and 1%, respectively. News also broke that Boeing was not entirely forthcoming with the Federal Aviation Administration about Boeing 737 issues.

While the economic picture remained worrisome Friday, UBS's chief investment officer within global wealth management, Mark Haefele, offered somewhat of a contrarian viewpoint, saying the Chinese economy may be on better footing than many think.

"While a near three-decade low in growth makes for disconcerting headlines, behind the top-line figure the picture is more nuanced with indications that policy support has started to take effect," Haefele wrote in an note Friday.

He was referring to both the fiscal and monetary stimulus measures China has taken in response to slowing economic growth, which has lately been attributed to the U.S.-China trade war.

"The weak GDP figure masks tentative signs of improvement at the end of the quarter," Haefele said.

He noted that China's industrial output accelerated to 5.8% year over year in September compared with August's reading of 4.4%. Industrial output is especially important in China, as manufacturing accounts for a majority of Chinese GDP, contrary to the U.S.'s economic structure.

China also saw retail sales climb 7.8% in September, an acceleration over August's reading of 7.5%.

Haefele says that stimulative economic policy in China is beginning to take hold. This could indicate the country's GDP could soon turn out to be better than feared.

While Haefele remains cautious on the global economy, he noted UBS is allocating a small portion of investors' capital to Chinese stocks.

Nvidia, Qualcomm and Caterpillar are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells these stocks? Learn more now.

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