Market Overview

Japan falls nearly 2%; Asia-Pacific shares slip as pandemic concerns weigh on sentiment

Japan falls nearly 2%; Asia-Pacific shares slip as pandemic concerns weigh on sentiment

Stocks in Asia-Pacific fell in Wednesday morning trade as a surge in coronavirus cases in countries like India weighs on the economic outlook and investor sentiment. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dropped 1.7% in morning trade while the Topix index slipped 2%. South Korea’s Kospi shed 1.11%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.42%. Mainland Chinese stocks also traded in negative territory as the Shanghai composite declined 0.31% while the Shenzhen component dipped 0.315%.

Shares in Australia also declined as the S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.3%. Australia’s retail sales rose 1.4% in March from February, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by the country’s Bureau of Statistics. That was higher than expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1% gain. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.94% lower. Reopening plays like airlines fell, with shares of Qantas Airways in Australia dropping 2% while Japan Airlines and ANA Holdings in Japan declined 0.89% and 1.71%, respectively. In Hong Kong, shares of China Eastern Airlines fell 1.38% and Cathay Pacific slipped 1.55%. Singapore Airlines’ stock also shed 0.59%.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 256.33 points to 33,821.30 while the S&P 500 declined 0.68% to 4,134.94. The Nasdaq Composite shed 0.92% to 13,786.27. The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against its peers, was at 91.201 following a drop from above 91.6 earlier this week. The Japanese yen traded at 107.96 per dollar, still stronger than levels above 109.2 against the greenback seen last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7728, lower than levels above $0.777 seen yesterday. Oil prices slipped in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.33% to $66.35 per barrel. U.S. crude futures slipped 0.46% to $62.38 per barrel.

Japan falls nearly 2%; Asia-Pacific shares slip as pandemic concerns weigh on sentiment, CNBC, Apr 21

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