Asian markets fall apart as US virus touches Wall Street sell-off

Asian markets fall apart as US virus touches Wall Street sell-off

Japan Nikkei 225 (N225) fell 1.8% in early trade, while South Korea Kospi (KOSPI)losses of 2.7%. Hong Kong Hang Seng (HSI) and China Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) traded at 1.2% and 0.6% respectively.

Oil futures also fell. US oil fell 2% during Asian trading hours on Friday, extending the 8 percent decline on Thursday. West Texas Intermediate last traded at $ 35.61 a barrel. Brent, the global indicator, fell 1.1% to $ 38.10 a barrel, up 7.6% on Thursday.

The losses came after shares in the United States fell on Thursday, recording their worst day of March 16.

The pandemic has already caused unemployment to soar in the United States as parts of the economy have stalled. The second wave of infections can force many businesses to close again after they reopen.

“The fear of an increasing incidence of Covid-19 infections is the most important driver in our opinion for this sell-off,” Tai Hui, Asia’s chief market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management, wrote in a research note released Friday.

Oil markets, meanwhile, are responding to fears of infection in the world’s largest oil-consuming economy, according to Stephen Ines, chief global market strategist at AxiCorp.

He added that recent negative sentiment has been “aggravated” by comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who warned on Wednesday that the country’s economic future is highly uncertain.

Until recently, US stock futures recovered from trading hours later. Dow (INDU) futures last over 266 points, or 1.1%. S&P 500 (SPX) futures increased 0.9% while Nasdaq (COMP) futures were up 0.8%.

– Anneken Tappe and Tami Luhby contributed to this report.

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