Asia Slides Ahead of U.S. Jobless Claims

Stocks in Asia were mixed on Thursday as investors awaited the release of U.S. jobless claims data expected later in the day stateside.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index lost 882.03 or 8%, to 18,664.60, as shares of index heavyweight Fast Retailing plunged 13.2%

Stocks of Apple suppliers in Asia were mixed on Thursday. In Japan, Taiyo Yuden shares fell 3.8% while Murata Manufacturing slipped 5%.

The Japanese yen traded at 110.38 per U.S. dollar after touching an earlier low of 111.30.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index dropped 174.85 points, or 0.7%, to 23,352.34

Hong Kong-listed shares of AAC Technologies gained 5.47%, as of their final hour of trading.

Stocks fell in Singapore, as Singapore Airlines requested for a trading halt pending an upcoming announcement by the carrier, according to an update on the Singapore Exchange website. That comes days after the airline said it will be “cutting 96% of the capacity that had been originally scheduled up to end-April.”

The country’s Ministry of Trade and Industry said Thursday that the Singapore economy is now expected to shrink by between 1.0% and 4.0% this year. Official preliminary data showed Singapore’s economy contracting 2.2% in the first quarter from a year ago.

Over in Taiwan, Hon Hai Precision Industry (also known as Foxconn) dipped 0.6%.

Investors awaited the release of U.S. initial jobless claims data, which could provide clues to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Australian dollar was at $0.5931 after declining from levels above $0.6 yesterday.

In other markets

The CSI 300 docked 24.47 points, or 0.7%, to 3,698.05

In Korea, the Kospi index subtracted 18.52 points, or 1.1%, to 1,686.24

In Taiwan, the Taiex gained 91.61 points, or 1%, to 9,736.36

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index deducted 17.91 points, or 0.7%, to 2,487.56

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 spiked 368.09 points, or 4%, to 9,632.47

In Australia, the ASX 200 climbed 115.22 points, or 2.3%, to 5.113.29