Virus Fear Drives Asia Down

Asia Pacific markets fell across the board Friday as investors remained cautious due to the growing number of coronavirus cases around the world.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index headed south 238.48 points, or 1.1%, to 22,290.81,

The Japanese yen changed hands at 106.84 per U.S. dollar, strengthening from earlier levels around 107.26.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index tumbled 482.75 points, or 1.8%, to 25,727.41, as media reported the city will suspend all schools from Monday following a recent spike in coronavirus cases.

Australian markets lost ground, as the heavily-weighted financials subindex declined 0.7% while the energy subindex fell 2%.

The Australian dollar slipped 0.56%, trading at $0.6924.

The World Health Organization said that though the virus, which has infected more than 12 million globally, can be brought under control, it’s "getting worse" in most of the world.

In other markets

Singapore markets were shuttered for holiday.

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 erased 16.84 points, or 0.6%, to 4,753.13.

In Korea, the Kospi slumbered 17.65 points, or 0.8%, to 2,150.25

In Taiwan, the Taiex index retreated 119.01 points, or 1%, to 12,073.68

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 lost 46.03 points, or 0.4%, to 11,394.86

In Australia, the ASX 200 dropped 36.24 points, or 0.6%, to 5,91922.