Shares in Australia lead losses as Asia-Pacific markets slip following overnight Wall Street plunge

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific fell in morning trade on Thursday following an overnight plunge on Wall Street as coronavirus cases continue to surge in the West.

Australia led losses among the region’s major markets, as the S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.54%, with shares of the country’s so-called Big Four banks declining: Commonwealth Bank of Australia dipped 0.5%, Westpac slipped 1.64%, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group fell 2.82% and National Australia Bank shed 1.54%.

Over in Japan, the Nikkei 225 declined 0.77% while the Topix index shed 0.55%. Shares of Sony, however, surged more than 5% after the firm raised its annual profit outlook.

South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.22%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.42% lower.

Covid-19 spread in the West

Japan retail sales falls on-year in September

Japan’s retail sales fell 8.7% in September as compared to a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s Preliminary Report on the Current Survey of Commerce released Thursday. That compared against a median market forecast for a 7.7% decline, according to Reuters.

Following the data release, the Japanese yen traded at 104.32 per dollar, having strengthened from levels above 104.8 against the greenback earlier this week.

The Bank of Japan is also set to announce its interest rate decision and release its outlook report on Thursday.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.432 after seeing a jump from levels below 93.2 earlier in the trading week.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7057 after yesterday’s sharp drop from above $0.712.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.41% to $39.28 per barrel while U.S. crude futures added 0.45% to $37.56 per barrel.

What’s on tap:

  • Japan: Bank of Japan’s interest rate decision and quarterly outlook report

Leave a Reply

Back to top