Asian markets largely changed course and were mostly lower on Thursday morning following a muted performance on Wall Street overnight.
The Nikkei 225 slid further to trade down by 0.57 percent in the afternoon, while the Topix index slipped by 0.1 percent.
Following an announcement Tuesday that Toyota and Softbank would be holding a joint news conference, shares of Toyota were up by 1.22 percent in the afternoon while Softbank’s stock rose by 1.76 percent.
The Kospi continued to slide from its earlier losses to trade down by 1.6 percent in the afternoon, following news reports that Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol hinted at a possible policy rate hike later in October.
Stocks of South Korea’s cosmetics brands took a hit on the back of weak sentiment about Chinese consumers, according to Reuters. Amorepacific shares dropped by 13.04 percent in the afternoon, while Cosmax fell 9.91 percent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also lost 1.68 percent in the afternoon.
Down Under, however, the ASX 200 pared some of its earlier gains but remained higher by 0.52 percent, with the heavily weighted financial sector up by 0.73 percent as Commonwealth Bank of Australia advanced by 0.4 percent and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group climbed up by 0.62 percent. Miner South32 also saw its stock jumping by 6.94 percent on the back of South Africa’s Exxaro expressing interest in its local coal assets.
Data had shown the country’s trade surplus increasing for the month of August — above expectations from a Reuters poll. Net exports rose 1 percent month-on-month while imports were unchanged.
China’s markets are closed for the Golden Week holidays.
Wall Street action overnight
In market action on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 54.45 points to close at 26,828.39. The index hit an all-time intraday high earlier in the trading day at 26,951.81. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 closed largely flat at 2,925.51 while the Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.32 percent to end the trading day at approximately 8,025.09.
On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the U.S. central bank was “a long way” from neutral on interest rates during a question-and-answer session with Judy Woodruff of Public Broadcasting Service.
Also on Wednesday, a report from ADP and Moody’s Analytics showed private payrolls in the U.S. increasing by 230,000 in September — the highest in seven months. This was compared to a number of 185,000 jobs expected by economists polled by Refinitiv (formerly Thomson Reuters). The report is often seen as a preview to the government’s nonfarm payrolls report, which is set for release on Friday.
Currencies and oil
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of peers, was at 96.061 as of 11:59 a.m. HK/SIN, off it earlier highs but still extending gains from its overnight rally.
The Japanese yen continued to trade stronger, at 114.24 against the dollar, while the Australian dollar weakened again at $0.7088.
In oil markets, prices continued to trend lower in the afternoon of Asian trade despite seeing a greater recovery. The global benchmark Brent crude futures contract fell by 0.1 percent to $86.20 per barrel, while the U.S. crude futures contract traded down 0.13 percent at $76.31 per barrel.