Asian markets have taken their lead from a poor session on Wall Street overnight and are heading broadly lower on Friday morning, with investors understandably cautious over adding new positions heading into the weekend.
In Japan, the Nikkei is flat, despite the Yen climbing above 112 against the U.S. dollar overnight. This is the weakest the Yen has been versus the USD since April 2019, and while a weak Yen typically favours Japanese export shares, that’s being offset today by concerns over the spread of coronavirus outside China.
Those concerns are being founded by news from South Korea, where the Kospi leads losers in the region with a loss of 1%. Overnight South Korea reported 52 new coronavirus cases, bringing its total to 150 and making it the worst affected country outside China.
In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite is trading 0.1% higher, and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite is 0.2% higher as Chinese investors are still upbeat following the stimulus measures being implemented by the People’s Bank of China. Over in Hong Kong investors aren’t nearly so upbeat, and the Hang Seng is trading 0.5% lower as a result.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 is off by 0.2% heading into the afternoon, with miners and oil majors broadly weaker, and the big four banks mixed. Poor earnings are also weighing on market sentiment.
In Taiwan, the Taiex is edging lower this morning by 0.1%.
In Southeast Asia markets are flat to lower, with both the Jakarta Composite in Indonesia and the Straits Times in Singapore flat, but Malaysia’s KLCI falling 0.3%.