Tokio, New York Asian investors’ vaccination hopes have been tarnished by weak retail sales in the US. The data fuel concerns that rising coronavirus cases could nip a still fragile economic recovery in the bud. According to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, the current rise in infections is a major problem and continues to require fiscal and monetary support for the economy.
The Nikkei index, which comprises 225 values, was 0.7 percent lower at 25,840 points. The broader Topix index fell 0.4 percent and stood at 1727 points.
“Given the rapid gains over the past ten days, a correction was inevitable,” said Hirokazu Kabeya, chief strategist at Daiwa Securities. “We’ve had a solid two weeks behind us, so the market, which is down half a percent on the prospect of restrictions, isn’t that bad,” said Jamie Cox, managing partner of Harris Financial Group.
The Shanghai stock exchange was up 0.5 percent. The index of the most important companies in Shanghai and Shenzen gained 0.2 percent. The MSCI index for Asian stocks outside of Japan fell 0.1 percent, barely moving, due to better management of the pandemic in much of the region. The index is up more than eleven percent so far this month.
In Asian foreign exchange trading, the dollar lost 0.1 percent to 104.09 yen and was down 0.1 percent to 6.5524 yuan. In relation to the Swiss currency it was quoted hardly changed at 0.9111 francs. At the same time, the euro remained almost unchanged at 1.1862 dollars and was barely changed at 1.0808 francs. The pound sterling gained 0.1 percent to $ 1.3254.
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