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Asia-Pacific stocks fall as omicron variant fears continue to weigh on market sentiment

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific fell in Thursday morning trade, as concerns over the economic impact of the omicron Covid variant continues to weigh on investor sentiment.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan declined 0.82% while the Topix index shed 0.63%. South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.79%.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell about 0.6%. Australia’s retail sales and trade data for October is set to be out at 8:30 a.m. HK/SIN on Thursday.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.22% lower.

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Stocks on Wall Street saw a sharp reversal overnight after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of omicron in the U.S.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 461.68 points to 34,022.04 while the S&P 500 declined 1.18% to 4,513.04. The Nasdaq Composite fell 1.83% to 15,254.05.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.028 after briefly spiking above 96.5 earlier in the week.

The Japanese yen traded at 112.85 per dollar, still stronger than levels above 113.4 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7107 after recently dropping from above $0.715.

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