Asian Markets Lower After Wall Street Sell-off

Asian stock markets are in negative territory on Friday after Wall Street saw its biggest sell-off since June amid concerns about excessive valuations in the tech sector. Investors also turned cautious ahead of the release of the closely-watched U.S. monthly jobs report for August due later in the day. The Labor Department report is expected to show that employment surged up by 1.4 million jobs in August.

The Australian market is notably lower following the sell-off on Wall Street. News that Victoria’s daily coronavirus death toll rose to a record 59 also dampened sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 151.60 points or 2.48 percent to 5,961.00, after touching a low of 5,955.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 156.10 points or 2.48 percent to 6,144.90. Australian stocks rose for a second straight session on Thursday.

In the tech sector, Appen is tumbling 7 percent, WiseTech Global is sliding almost 7 percent and Afterpay is falling more than 4 percent after their U.S. peers tumbled overnight.

Among the major miners, BHP Group is losing more than 3 percent, Rio Tinto is lower by more than 2 percent and Fortescue Metals is declining almost 2 percent.

Oil stocks are also mostly lower after crude oil prices fell overnight. Santos and Oil Search are lower by more than 2 percent each, while Woodside Petroleum is down almost 2 percent.

In the banking space, Westpac, National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking are lower in a range of 2.1 percent to 2.3 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is declining almost 2 percent.

Bucking the trend, gold miners are higher even as gold prices declined to a one-week low overnight. Evolution Mining is rising 0.5 percent and Newcrest Mining is adding 0.3 percent.

In economic news, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that the total value of retail sales in Australia was up a seasonally adjusted 3.2 percent on month in July. That was shy of expectations for an increase of 3.3 percent and was up from 2.7 percent in the previous month.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar. The local currency was quoted at $0.7274, compared to $0.7309 on Thursday.

The Japanese market is declining after the sell-off on Wall Street. Investors also turned cautious as they looked ahead to the release of the U.S. jobs data for August later in the day.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 254.56 points or 1.08 percent to 23,210.97, after falling to a low of 23,098.77 in early trades. Japanese stocks hit a six-month high on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is declining almost 2 percent and Fast Retailing is down 0.5 percent.

The major exporters are lower on a stronger yen. Canon is losing almost 2 percent, Sony is lower by more than 1 percent and Panasonic is declining almost 1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is down 0.3 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and Tokyo Electron are declining more than 2 percent each. In the financial sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down 0.2 percent, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is adding 0.3 percent.

Among automakers, Honda is gaining more than 3 percent and Toyota is rising 0.6 percent. In the oil sector, Inpex is lower by more than 1 percent and Japan Petroleum is down almost 1 percent after crude oil prices ended lower overnight.

Among the other major gainers, Nippon Light Metal is rising more than 2 percent, Shinsei Bank is higher by 2 percent and Nippon Steel is advancing almost 2 percent.

Conversely, Alps Alpine and Pacific Metals are losing more than 4 percent each, while Screen Holdings, Otsuka Holdings and Dena Co. are all lower by more than 3 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 106 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is losing almost 2 percent, while Shanghai, South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand and Indonesia are all declining more than 1 percent each. Taiwan is down almost 1 percent and Malaysia is also lower.

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply lower on Thursday, largely reflecting profit taking as some traders looked to cash in on the recent strength in the markets. Stocks had been trending higher over the past several weeks, leading some analysts to suggest the recovery by the markets has been overdone. Tech stocks led the markets lower.

The Dow tumbled 807.77 points or 2.8 percent to 28,292.73, the Nasdaq plummeted 598.34 points or 5 percent to 11,458.10 and the S&P 500 plunged 125.78 points or 3.5 percent to 3,455.06.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on Thursday. While the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.4 percent, the German DAX Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index tumbled by 1.4 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices recovered after an early sharp fall on Thursday, but still ended the session on a negative note amid concerns about the pace of economic recovery and the outlook for energy demand. WTI crude for October ended down $0.14 or about 0.3 percent at $41.37 a barrel.

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