Asian markets mostly lower after Wall Street fall

Asian markets mostly lower after Wall Street fall

Beijing: Asian markets were mostly lower Friday amid investor uncertainty about the global outlook after Wall Street fell on weak energy demand.

Markets in Tokyo, Shanghai and Seoul declined, while Hong Kong and Taipei traded slightly higher after major US indexes slid by about 1% overnight.

Investors are trying to sort out conflicting signs from last week’s upbeat US growth data, lower oil prices and a weaker dollar, said Andrew Orchard, Asian strategist for Royal Bank of Scotland in Hong Kong.

“We’re in a bit of a holding pattern. We have conflicting forces," Orchard said.

In Japan, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was down fell 32.37 points, or 0.3%, to 9,772.12. China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 1 percent to 3,141.87 while the Shenzhen Composite Index for China’s smaller second exchange lost 0.7% to 1,133.29.

Elsewhere, Seoul’s Kospi was off 0.3% at 1,570.42. Singapore’s market declined 0.4%, while Sydney shed 0.8% to 4,710.3.

Hong Kong’s market was up 0.1% to 22,421.77.

Wall Street was poised to trade sideways Friday, with Dow S&P futures little changed.

On Thursday, a government report showing a jump in US energy inventories caused stocks to slide on concern gasoline demand was falling due to the struggling economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.9%, or 93.79 points, to 10,197.47. That was its biggest drop since 30 October and only its second this month.

That overshadowed an unexpectedly strong jobs report by the Labour Department, which said new unemployment claims fell last week to the lowest level since January.

The US government said last week the economy grew at a 3.5% annual rate in the July-September quarter, its strongest performance in two years.

“The surprise on growth in the US should have people a bit more optimistic," said RBS’s Orchard. “That has been a bit of a surprise."

Also Thursday, the S&P 500 index fell 11.27, or 1%, to 1,087.24, after two days of gains. The Nasdaq fell 17.88, or 0.8 percent, to 2,149.02.

Oil eased to just above $76 a barrel in Asia, with benchmark crude for December delivery down 15 cents at $76.79 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract tumbled $2.34 to settle at $76.94 on Thursday.

Gold prices slipped 80 cents, or about 0.1 percent, to $1,105.8 an ounce.

The dollar fell to 90.21 yen from 90.36 yen, while the euro gained to $1.4861 from $1.4858.