Asian shares were mostly lower Thursday as caution set in after a retreat on Wall Street driven by a decline in technology shares.
Market players are feeling less optimistic about action from the U.S. Federal Reserve and Congress to help the U.S. economy amid the distractions of the presidential election and the battle over the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Risks of a broader sell-off of technology shares after a long due correction, Hayaki Narita at Mizuho Bank in Singapore said in a report.
“Add to that, the growing severity of ‘second wave’ risks in Europe, with the U.K. and France seeing a worrying escalation in new cases," in addition to flare-ups in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere, he said.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 declined 0.7% to 23,185.16. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped nearly 1.0% to 5,866.90. South Korea's Kospi plunged 1.9% to 2,288.28. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 1.4% to 23,408.88, while the Shanghai Composite was down nearly 1.0% at 3,248.46.
“Weak leads from Wall Street continue to be the bane of Asia markets as regional indices broadly slipped,” said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG.
Wall Street experienced more whiplash Wednesday as stocks closed broadly lower, wiping out gains from the day before. The S&P 500 fell 2.4% to 3,236.92, erasing an earlier gain. The widespread selling accelerated in the afternoon, though technology stocks accounted for the biggest losses. The decline deepens the benchmark index's September slide to 7.5% after a five-month rally.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.9% to 26,763.13. The Nasdaq composite slid 3% to 10,632.99 and the Russell 2000 index of small company stocks gave up 3% to 1,451.46.