SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific slipped in Friday trade, with Japanese stocks leading losses regionally.
South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.7%.
The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia fell 1.37%. 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 1.1% lower.
Travel stocks slammed
Travel stocks in Asia-Pacific fell in Friday trade amid renewed Covid fears.
In Australia, Qantas Airways shares dropped 4.73% while Hong Kong-listed shares of Cathay Pacific slipped 2.7%. Shares of Japan Airlines in Japan plunged 4.29% while Singapore Airlines’ stock in Singapore declined 1.71%.
Those losses came after 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.
Oil falls more than 1%
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.722 — still above levels below 96.5 seen earlier in the trading week.