Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.6% to 3,560.15, Nikkei 225 declined 2.8% to 28,656.17, Hang Seng fell 2.3% to 24,161.55, Kospi lost 1.4% to 2,938.09, and S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.7% to 7,279
Stock markets in Asia dipped on Friday after some European countries tightened curbs on travel and business after a surge in coronavirus infections and South Africa reported a new variant.
Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney declined. U.S. markets were closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Austria imposed a nationwide 10-day lockdown after its daily virus deaths tripled, while Italy imposed curbs on activity by unvaccinated people. The U.S. government advised Americans to avoid travel to Germany and Denmark. Scientists in South Africa said a new variant was spreading among young people in its most populous province.
Investors are likely to shoot first and ask questions later until more is known, Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a report.
The Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.6% to 3,560.15 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo declined 2.8% to 28,656.17. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong stumbled 2.3% to 24,161.55. The Kospi in Seoul shed 1.4% to 2,938.09 and Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.7% to 7,279. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets also declined.
Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 closed up 0.2% on Wednesday. U.S. markets are due to reopen on Friday for a shortened post-Thanksgiving trading session.
Investors are more cautious after Federal Reserve officials indicated in notes from their October meeting released this week that they foresaw the possibility of responding to higher inflation by raising rates sooner than previously planned.
Financial markets had been encouraged by strong U.S. corporate earnings and signs the global economy was rebounding from last year’s decline in activity due to the pandemic. Stock prices have been boosted by easy credit and other measures rolled out by the Fed and other central banks.