Bangkok: Asian markets slid on Friday as more dour reports on the US economy renewed concerns about a slowing recovery and sent stock investors packing.
Wall Street set the stage for Asia’s losses after figures showed an unexpected rise in claims for US unemployment benefits and a drop in manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region.
The numbers spooked investors around the globe, taking them as a sign that the world’s largest economy is headed back to recession.
The “jury is still out as to whether bulls or bears will be sure winners given an uncertain economic outlook and poor US economic data,” Taiwan International Securities said in a report. “Investors ought to stay cautious and are advised to under weigh stocks until the risks and negative sentiment subside.”
Oil prices, meanwhile, wallowed below $75 a barrel amid expectations that demand for crude will weaken.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average was down 108.04 points, or 1.2%, at 9,254.64 and South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.5% to 1,770.40.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index faded 1.4% to 4,416.60 ahead of national elections Saturday and the Shanghai Composite Index dived 1.6% to 2,645.59.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was off 0.8% at 20,900.98. Markets in Singapore, Taiwan, India, and New Zealand also fell while Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia posted moderate gains.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 144 points, or 1.4%, to 10,271.21 on Thursday. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 18.53, or 1.7%, to 1,075.63, while the Nasdaq composite index fell 36.75, or 1.7%, to 2,178.95.
In currencies, the dollar rose to 85.31 yen from 85.26 yen late Thursday in New York while the euro slipped to $1.2807 from $1.2819.
Benchmark crude for October delivery was up 2 cents at $74.45 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 99 cents to settle at $74.43 on Thursday.