Shutterstock photo

Asia stocks track commodities, Wall St. lower; Nikkei ends down 1.2%

Shutterstock photo

Shutterstock photo - Asian stock markets were mostly lower during late Asian trade on Thursday, as concerns over the global economic outlook prompted investors to shun riskier assets.

Sentiment was further dampened by steep overnight losses on Wall Street and amid concerns over the U.S. corporate earnings season.

During late Asian trade, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dipped 0.2%, Australia's ASX/200 Index ended 1.5% lower, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index closed down 1.2%.

The International Monetary Fund cut its 2013 forecast for global growth to 3.3% earlier in the week, down from its January projection of 3.5%.

The growth projection for China, the region's largest economy, was trimmed to 8% from 8.2%, while the growth outlook for the U.S. was lowered to 1.9% from 2%.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei moved further away from last week's five-year high as investors continued to monitor movements in the currency market.

The yen traded at 97.99 against the U.S. dollar, inching away from the key 100-yen mark almost touched last week.

A strong currency undermines the value of Japanese exporters' overseas profits and also makes Japanese shares less attractive to investors holding other currencies.

Automakers Mazda and Toyota dropped 2.5% and 2.2% respectively, while Sony and Sharp declined 1.9% and 4.6% apiece.

Meanwhile, in Australia, the benchmark ASX/200 Index recorded steep losses as miners came under pressure after oil and copper prices fell to multi-month lows in New York on Wednesday.

Mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto plunged 4.2% and 4.6% respectively, while Fortescue Metals Group tumbled 7.8%.

Elsewhere, in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng swung modestly lower in choppy trade, as investors remained concerned over the economic outlook for China.

A downbeat performance by property developers limited any significant gains, with New World Development shares dropping 1.8%, Henderson Land Development falling 1.7% and Sino Land declining 1%.

Looking ahead, European stock market futures pointed to a steady open, but gains looked likely to remain limited as concerns over the outlook for global economic growth continued to weigh on risk appetite.

The EURO STOXX 50 futures pointed to a rise of 0.2% at the open, France's CAC 40 futures were flat, London's FTSE 100 futures rose 0.2%, while Germany's DAX futures pointed to a gain of 0.1% at the open.

Spain was to hold an auction of government bonds later in the day, while the U.S. was to release official data on initial jobless claims and the Philly Fed manufacturing index. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

Read more News on or Follow us on Twitter at @ Newsinvesting

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Other Topics