South Korean shares lead losses in Asia-Pacific 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.

Shares in South Korea led losses among the region’s major markets, as the Kospi fell 1.78% as shares of chipmaker SK Hynix fell about 2%.

Meanwhile, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.24%

Over in Japan, the Nikkei 225 declined 0.8% while the Topix index shed 0.47%. Shares of Sony, however, surged more than 6% after the firm raised its annual profit outlook.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.43% 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 104.34 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 93.395 after touching an earlier high of 93.463.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7064 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 about 0.5% to $39.32 per barrel while U.S. crude futures added 0.53% to $37.59 per barrel.

What’s on tap:

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

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