Australia Leads Losses in Mixed Asia-Pacific Trade

Shares in Asia-Pacific fell in on Thursday following an overnight plunge on Wall Street as coronavirus cases continue to surge in the West.

The sustained increase in coronavirus cases seen in the U.S. as well as across Europe likely weighed on investor sentiment in Asia-Pacific on Thursday.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 lost 86.57 points, or 0.4%, to 23,331.94. Shares of Sony, however, surged 6.7% after the firm raised its annual profit outlook.

The Japanese yen traded at 104.23 per U.S. dollar, having strengthened from levels above 104.8 against the greenback earlier this week.

The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady on Thursday, in a widely expected decision. In the central bank’s quarterly report, its median forecast for real Gross Domestic Product was revised downward to a 5.5% decline in fiscal year 2020. That compared against a median expectation of a 4.7% fall projected in the previous report in July.

Japan’s retail sales fell 8.7% in September as compared to a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s Preliminary Report on the Current Survey of Commerce released Thursday. That compared against a median market forecast for a 7.7% decline.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index tumbled 122.2 points, or 0.5%, to 24,586.60.

Standard Chartered shares listed in the city fell 3.1% after the lender announced a 40% year-on-year slide in its profit before taxation for the three months ended Sept. 30.

Korean markets pointed downward, as shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics declined 1.5% after the firm on Thursday predicted a fourth-quarter decline in profits.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7052 after yesterday’s sharp drop from above $0.712.

In other markets

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 gained 35.65 points, or 0.8%, to 4,772.92.

In Korea, the Kospi index sagged 18.59 points, or 0.8%, to 2,326.67.

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index shed 130.84 points, or 1%, to 12,662.91.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index dropped 32.8 points, or 1.3%, to 2,450.68.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 slid 62.72 points, or 0.5%, to 12,201.80.

In Australia, the ASX 200 let go of 97.4 points, or 1.6%, to 5,960.34.