Most Asian stocks were down on Thursday, as the rise in new coronavirus cases in some US states and in Beijing weighed on investors’ sentiment, while downbeat data from Australia and New Zealand added to concerns.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index plunged 0.3 percent to 24,409.01, while the Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.12 percent up at 2,939.32.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished 0.92 percent down at 5,936.50, and South Korea’s Kospi index descended 0.35 percent to 2,133.48.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index slumped 0.45 percent to 22,355.46 points.
The decline in Asian shares was influenced by the retreat in US shares overnight, amid heightened concerns about a second wave of coronavirus infections, following the rise in cases in some states including California, Texas, Florida and Oklahoma.
In China, the image was bleaker as Beijing saw the biggest resurgence in the Covid-19 since early February, prompting authorities to impose travel bans, school closures and block off some neighborhoods.
Regarding economic data, Australia’s unemployment climbed to the highest level in nearly twenty years in May on the back of the restrictions adopted to alleviate the pandemic spread.
The jobless rate jumped to 7.1 percent in May from 6.4 percent in April, with nearly a quarter of a million people lost their jobs.
In New Zealand, the economy shrank 1.6 percent in the first quarter, the biggest fall in 29 years and the first quarterly drop since the December 2010.
However, losses in equities were limited as still there are some hopes that central bank stimuli would boost economic recovery.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell urged Congress on Wednesday not to halt economic support to the economy, while European leader will discuss a proposed 750-billion-euro aid package on Friday.
Later in the day, the
Bank of England may expand its bond-buying asset purchase programme by 100
billion pounds to 150 billion pounds.