Asia-Pacific stocks fall after Wall Street plunge; Australia’s July retail turnover rises

Stocks in Asia Pacific fell in Friday morning trade following sharp declines on Wall Street overnight.

Stocks in Australia led losses among the major markets regionally, as the S&P/ASX 200 declined 2.57%.

Mainland Chinese stocks also fell in early trade as the Shanghai composite dropped 1.56% while the Shenzhen component declined 1.844%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 1.75%.

The Kospi in South Korea dropped 1.32%. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 declined 1.07% while the Topix index shed 0.91%.

Over in Southeast Asia, the Straits Times index in Singapore also fell 1.57%.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 1.53% lower.

Investor reaction to overnight moves stateside were watched. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 807.77 points, or 2.8%, to 28,292.73 — its biggest one-day decline since June 11. The S&P 500 slid 3.5% to 3,455.06 and the Nasdaq Composite fell by 5% to close at 11,458.10.

“There has been no obvious catalyst for the move,” National Australia Bank’s Rodrigo Catril wrote in a note. “Now the question is whether the correction has legs or whether investors are temped back in.”

On the economic data front, Australia’s retail turnover rose 3.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis in July, according to figures released Friday from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. That followed the June quarter gross domestic product figures released earlier this week that showed the country officially entering a recession.

Following the data release, the Australian dollar traded at $0.7274 after seeing an earlier low of $0.7249.

Later Friday stateside, a closely watched U.S. jobs report is also set to be released, with economists polled by Dow Jones expecting the U.S. economy to have added more than 1 million jobs last month.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 92.743 following its bounce this week from levels below 92.

The Japanese yen changed hands at 106.15 per dollar after it strengthened yesterday from the 106.5 handle against the greenback.

Oil prices were lower in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.7% to $43.76 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 0.75% to $41.06 per barrel.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

  • U.S.: Nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for August

Correction: This article was updated to reflect that the Japanese yen strengthened from the 106.5 handle against the greenback yesterday.