Asian Markets Mostly Mixed, NIkkei Drops 0.72% to close at 30,017.92
Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Friday following overnight declines for the major indexes on Wall Street.
In Japan, the NIkkei 225 declined 0.72% to close at 30,017.92 while the Topix index shed 0.67% to finish its trading day at 1,928.95.
Japan’s core consumer prices declined 0.6% in January as compared with a year earlier, according to data released Friday by the country’s Statistics Bureau. That marked the sixth straight month of annual declines, according to Reuters.
Mainland Chinese markets were higher on the day: The Shanghai composite rose 0.57% to 3,696.17 while the Shenzhen component advanced 0.35% to about 15,823.11. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was fractionally higher, as of its final hour of trading.
South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.68% to close at 3,107.62.
Stocks in Australia slipped as the S&P/ASX 200 closed 1.34% lower at 6,793.80.
Australia’s retail sales rose 0.6% in January on a seasonally adjusted basis as compared with the previous month, according to preliminary retail trade figures released Friday by the country’s Bureau of Statistics. That was lower than expectations in a Reuters poll for a 2% increase.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan declined slightly.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 119.68 points to close at 31,493.34. The S&P 500 declined 0.44% to finish its trading day at 3,913.97 while the Nasdaq Composite shed 0.72% to about 13,865.36.
The declines stateside came after first-time filings for jobless claims totaled 861,000 last week, the highest in a month and above the Dow Jones estimate of 773,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
Asian Markets Currencies & Oil
Oil prices fell in the afternoon of Asia trading hours on Friday, as international benchmark Brent crude futures slipped 1.05% to $63.26 per barrel. U.S. crude futures dropped 1.39% to $59.68 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.504 as it eased off from levels above 90.9 seen earlier in the week.
The Japanese yen traded at 105.63 per dollar, stronger than levels above 106 against the greenback seen earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7791, having swung from around $0.78 to below $0.774 so far this week.