Japan’s Nikkei falls 2% as Asia-Pacific stocks track Wall Street declines; oil slips from highs

SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific markets fell on Friday, tracking declines on Wall Street overnight. Meanwhile, oil prices slipped overnight from their 2014 highs earlier in the week.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 2% in early trade, while the Topix was down 1.81%. Auto and tech stocks fell across the board. Toyota was down nearly 4%, Mazda dropped 4.8% and Mitsubishi fell more than 5%.

In tech stocks, Sony was down more than 4%, and Softbank declined more than 2%.

Japan’s inflation data released on Friday showed that core consumer prices rose 0.5% in December compared to a year earlier, as fuel and raw material costs increased, according to Reuters. The increase was for a second month straight at the fastest pace in nearly two years, Reuters said.

Australia’s ASX 200 fell more than 1% as major miners and banks declined. Over in South Korea, the Kospi was down 0.7%.

Elsewhere, Singapore’s first SPAC, Vertex Technology Acquisition Corporation, made its debut on Thursday afternoon, drawing a keen response from investors with the retail tranche of 600,000 units 36 times subscribed. The stock closed up 1% from its offer price.

Over on Wall Street, stocks fell. The Nasdaq Composite ended the session down 1.3% at 14,154.02 after notching higher by 2.1% earlier in the day. That put the index further in correction territory — or more than 10% below its November record.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 313.26 points to 34,715.39 on Thursday, closing below its 200-day moving average for the first time since December 2021. The S&P 500 fell 1.1% to 4,482.73 and closing below 4,500 for the first time since October 2021.

Currencies and oil

Oil prices fell on Thursday after spiking to their highest since 2014 on Wednesday, as supply concerns were soothed.

“The rally in crude oil took a breather after US crude stockpiles rose modestly,” wrote ANZ Research analysts Brian Martin and Daniel Hynes in a Friday note.

“Despite this, demand remains strong … The pause in prices was also driven by reports the US is planning to accelerate the release of strategic reserves. However, this will be overshadowed by ongoing supply constraints globally,” they said.

On Friday morning during Asia hours, oil prices continued to decline. U.S. crude fell about 1.61% to $84.17 per barrel.

In currencies, the U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 95.770, lifting from earlier levels above 95.6.

The Japanese yen traded at 113.93 per dollar, continuing to strengthen from levels above 114. The Australian dollar was at $0.7217, edging down slightly.

— CNBC’s Abigail Ng contributed to this report.

(With Inputs from cnbc)

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