SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific slipped in Friday morning trade, with Japanese stocks leading losses regionally.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan dropped 1.73% as shares of Fast Retailing and SoftBank Group both declined more than 2% each while the Topix index fell 1.4%. South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.41%.
The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia fell 0.62%. Australia’s retail sales in October jumped 4.9% month-on-month, seasonally adjusted, according to official estimates released Friday. That was far higher than the 2.5% increase predicted in a Reuters poll.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.2% lower.
In Covid developments, World Health Organization officials said Thursday they are monitoring a new variant with “a large number of mutations.” A special meeting is scheduled for Friday to discuss its implications for vaccines and treatments.
Markets in the U.S. were closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.774 — still above levels below 96.5 seen earlier in the trading week.
The Japanese yen traded at 114.85 per dollar, still weaker than levels below 114.5 seen earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7171 following yesterday’s drop from levels above $0.72.