Asian markets fall following a heavy sell-off on Wall Street
Hong Kong - AFP
Asian markets sank Thursday following a heavy sell-off on Wall Street as a mixed bag of data raised concerns about the global economy, while the dollar tumbled a day after breaking 110 yen for the first time in six years.
Traders were now awaiting a European Central Bank (ECB) policy meeting later in the day and the release of US jobs figures on Friday.
Tokyo tumbled 2.61 percent, or 420.26 points, at 15,661.99 and Seoul lost 0.77 percent, or 15.38 points, to close at 1,976.16 and Sydney eased 0.68 percent, or 36.43 points, to 5,297.7.
Hong Kong, Shanghai and Mumbai were closed for public holidays. A pro-democracy campaign in Hong Kong is also being closely tracked.
Protest leaders have called for the leader of the financial hub to stand down by the end of the day or they will step up their demonstration, which has so far been largely peaceful.
US shares suffered heavy losses Wednesday after the Commerce Department said construction spending in August fell unexpectedly, while a separate report showed manufacturing activity slowed in September.
The Dow tumbled 1.40 percent, the S&P 500 fell 1.32 percent and the Nasdaq lost 1.59 percent.
Adding to nervousness was news of the first Ebola case in the United States.
Investors were unmoved by figures showing US private-sector employment increased 213,000 last month.
The main focus of attention is Friday's non-farm payrolls report, which is used as a barometer of the health of the world's number one economy. A strong result could be seen as giving the Federal Reserve more room to increase interest rates sooner than its mid-2015 forecast.
On currency markets the greenback also sank in New York, ending the day at 108.91 yen, well down from the 110.09 yen it touched earlier in Tokyo -- the first time it had breached 110 yen since August 2008.
In afternoon trade Thursday it was at 108.50 yen.
The euro was also struggling ahead of the ECB meeting, which comes days after data showed inflation at its lowest level in five years, fuelling deflation fears and calls for fresh easing measures.
The euro bought $1.2632 and 137.09 yen against $1.2624 and 137.48 yen in US trade.
On oil markets US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for November delivery slipped $1.13 to $89.60 while Brent crude for November $2.29 to $94.06 in afternoon trade.
Gold was at $1,213.50 an ounce against $1,213.29 late Wednesday.
In other markets:
-- Taipei slipped 0.17 percent, or 15.07 points, to 8,975.19.
Smartphone maker HTC fell 1.53 percent to Tw$128.5 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. was 0.41 percent lower at Tw$121.0.
-- Wellington lost 0.56 percent, or 29.35 points, to end at 5,245.24.
Fletcher Building was off 0.11 percent at NZ$8.73 and Warehouse Group slipped 1.60 percent to NZ$3.07.
-- Manila lost 0.99 percent, or 71.80 points, to close at 7,196.26.
Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. fell 0.98 percent to 3,040 pesos while Aboitiz Power dropped 0.49 percent to 40.90 pesos.
-- Jakarta plunged 2.73 percent, or 140.10 points, to 5,000.81.
Lender Bank Negara Indonesia fell 6.73 percent to 5,200 rupiah, while tin miner Timah gained 4.12 percent to 1,265 rupiah.
-- Singapore closed down 1.08 percent, or 35.38 points, at 3,228.71.
Real estate developer Capitaland sank 2.51 percent to Sg$3.11 while DBS Bank eased 0.87 percent to Sg$18.25.
-- Bangkok lost 1.11 percent, or 17.62 points, to 1,569.73.
Coal producer Banpu dropped 0.83 percent, or 0.25 baht, to 29.75 while Bangkok Bank fell 1.95 percent, or 4.00 baht, to 201.00 baht.
-- Malaysia's main stock index ended at 1,837.68, down 7.64 or 0.41 percent.
Petronas Gas lost 1.1 percent to 22.68 ringgit, while plantation giant Sime Darby fell 0.3 percent to 9.15. Telekom Malaysia gained 0.2 percent to 6.66 ringgit.