Asian stocks dip taking cue from Wall Street, doubts on oil

TOKYO – Asian markets fell Wednesday, following pessimism on Wall Street, amid disappointing earnings news from the U.S. and lingering doubts about the direction of oil prices.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.5 per cent to 16,932.77 in morning trading, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.4 per cent to 5,460.10. South Korea’s Kospi inched up less than 0.1 per cent to 2,032.99. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.6 per cent to 23,400.19. The Shanghai Composite lost 0.3 per cent to 3,055.37.

WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 200.38 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 18,128.66. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 26.93 points, or 1.2 per cent, to 2,136.73. The Nasdaq composite index slid 81.89 points, or 1.5 per cent, to 5,246.79.

THE QUOTE: “Equities meanwhile were hit with a double whammy. Fed hike expectations coupled with softer oil prices brought the S&P 500 index to a loss,” says Jingyi Pan, markets strategist at IG in Singapore. “The oil story is still developing with traders now casting doubts over the Russia’s commitment.”

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 7 cents to $50.86 a barrel in New York. Brent, the international standard, added 19 cents to $52.60 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 103.52 yen from 103.94 late Tuesday in Asia. The euro fell to $1.1049 from $1.1128.