By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Asian markets fell in early trading Thursday, following losses on Wall Street triggered by fresh worries about an economic slowdown.
U.S. stocks are off to their worst start to a quarter since 2008, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.95% has lost more than 800 points in the past two days. Data showing slower job creation and weaker manufacturing output are indicating that the Trump administration’s trade war is taking a toll on the U.S. economy.
Global markets were further uneased after the U.S. announced late Wednesday that it planned to slap tariffs as high as 25% on $7.5 billion of European imports, after the WTO ruled the EU improperly favored Airbus /zigman2/quotes/208224336/delayed FR:AIR +5.72% over Boeing /zigman2/quotes/208579720/composite BA +3.10% in a long-running trans-Atlantic dispute.
“The dreary economic data does perhaps suggest that traders could be better sellers in this risk-toxic environment,” Stephen Innes, Asia-Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader, said in a note.
Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +1.88% dropped 2% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +2.11% slipped 0.4%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.47% fell 1.8% and New Zealand’s NZX 50 /zigman2/quotes/211587880/delayed NZ:NZ50GR -0.33% slid 1%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 -0.88% , Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -0.05% , Malaysia /zigman2/quotes/210598052/delayed MY:FBMKLCI -0.44% and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX +0.63% all declined. Markets in mainland China and South Korea were closed for holidays.
Among individual stocks, SoftBank /zigman2/quotes/207303954/delayed JP:9984 -2.45% , Fast Retailing /zigman2/quotes/200663563/delayed JP:9983 +1.02% , Toyota /zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed JP:7203 +3.95% and Honda /zigman2/quotes/200490352/delayed JP:7267 +6.38% all sank in Tokyo trading. Casino operator Galaxy Entertainment /zigman2/quotes/202884203/delayed HK:27 +5.47% rose in Hog Kong, while Wharf Real Estate /zigman2/quotes/205885756/delayed HK:1997 +5.66% and CNOOC /zigman2/quotes/203421416/delayed HK:883 +3.06% declined. In Australia, Beach Energy /zigman2/quotes/200513631/delayed AU:BPT -0.69% , BHP /zigman2/quotes/201448516/delayed AU:BHP +0.90% and Westpac Banking /zigman2/quotes/203084975/delayed AU:WBC +2.66% all fell.
Markets already were on edge about whether President Donald Trump’s tariff battle with Beijing, which is weighing on trade worldwide, might tip the global economy into recession.
U.S. and Chinese negotiators are due to meet this month for a 13th round of talks aimed at ending the fight over Beijing’s trade surplus and technology policies. The two sides have made conciliatory gestures including postponing or lifting some punitive tariffs, but there has been no sign of progress toward settling the core issues in the dispute.
Also Wednesday, investors increased their bets the Federal Reserve will slash interest rates at its next meeting to shield the economy from slowing growth abroad and the effects of the trade war.
Markets are pricing in a 75% probability the Fed will cut short-term rates by half a percentage point at its Oct. 29-30 meeting. The Fed hasn’t cut rates by that large a margin since the 2008 financial crisis.
Benchmark U.S. crude gained 13 cents to $52.77 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged 98 cents on Wednesday to close at $52.64. Brent crude , used to price international oils, lost 6 cents to $57.63 per barrel in London. It fell $1.20 the previous session to $57.69.
The dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.5483% edged down to 107.14 yen from Wednesday’s 107.19 yen.