Asia-Pacific Shares Slip

Major Asia-Pacific markets closed lower on Thursday, with Indonesia’s benchmark index bucking the overall trend as stocks jumped on election hopes. Meanwhile, investors looked to signs of progress in U.S.-China trade talks.

The Nikkei 225 plummeted 187.85 points, or 0.8%, 22,090.12, with shares of conglomerate Softbank Group declining 2.2%

The Japanese yen traded at 111.91 against the U.S. dollar after touching a low of 112.07 earlier.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index collapsed 161.42 points, or 0.5%, to 29,963.26, as Hong Kong-listed shares of China Construction Bank declined more than 1%.

In Korea, where stocks were also beaten down, industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics saw its stock drop 3.1% after multiple accounts emerged of its $2,000 folding phone breaking for several users ahead of the device’s retail launch.

In Australia, labour force data came in above expectations on Thursday, with 25,700 jobs added on a seasonally adjusted basis in the month of March as compared to a forecast gain of 12,000.

Following the release of that data, the Australian dollar spiked to $0.7199 U.S. before last trading at $0.7182.

CHINA

The CSI 300 in China dropped 15.16 points, or 0.4%, to 4,072.08

On the trade front, media reports on Wednesday said that Beijing officials are looking at U.S. President Donald Trump’supcoming international travel dates that might offer potential for a summit off American soil. Investors have been watching out for any developments that the two economic powerhouses could be close to reaching a deal to end a protracted trade war.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index erased 1.06 points to 3,347.58

Korea’s Kospi Index slumped 32.12 points, or 1.4%, to 2,213.77

The Taiex Index in Taiwan subtracted 35.24 points, or 0.3%, to 10,962.02

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 stepped back 22.62 points, or 0.2%, to 9,959.62

In Australia, the ASX 200 defied the trend and actually gained 3.44 points, or 0.4%, to 6,259.82