Asian Shares Follow Wall Street Lower

Asian stocks tumbled in cautious trade on Friday amid concerns that a second wave of coronavirus in the United States could derail economic recovery.

About half a dozen American states including Texas and Arizona are grappling with a rising number of coronavirus patients filling hospital beds, reflecting increased testing and loosening of the social distancing restrictions.

Europe is also expected to see a surge of Covid-19 infections in the coming two weeks caused by mass protests in the continent to protest the killing of George Floyd.

China’s Shanghai Composite index was down 0.6 percent as investors reassessed the global growth outlook. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down over 1 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei average was down 1.5 percent as the yen hit a one-month high against the dollar after a rout in U.S. shares amid reports of rising coronavirus cases in some states that have reopened.

Exporters paced the decliners, with Canon, Honda Motor and Toyota Motor falling around 2 percent.

Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 was down 1.7 percent, dragged down by banks and miners. New Zealand’s benchmark NZX-50 index dropped around 2 percent while South Korea’s Kospi was down as much as 2.4 percent.

Gold held steady while the dollar rose on safe-haven demand. Oil extended losses after falling about 8 percent overnight as the EIA reported record U.S. commercial crude oil inventories and the Federal Reserve said the U.S economy would shrink by 6.5 percent this year.

U.S. stocks nosedived overnight to suffer their worst sell-off since March as the Fed’s dour economic projections and resurgence in coronavirus cases put investors in risk-off mode.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 6.9 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite plummeted 5.3 percent and the S&P 500 tumbled 5.9 percent.

European markets plunged the most in more than two months on Thursday after reports suggested that a possible second wave of the coronavirus pandemic could be taking hold in several U.S. states.

The pan European Stoxx 600 declined 4.1 percent. The German DAX lost 4.5 percent, France’s CAC 40 index shed 4.7 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 gave up 4 percent.

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