Investing.com - Asian stock markets were broadly lower on Thursday, following a weak overnight session in the U.S. and as investors digested a flurry of corporate earnings reports.
During late Asian trade, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng Index fell 0.75%, China’s Shanghai Composite index shed 0.55%, Australia’s ASX/200 Index closed 0.04% lower, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index ended down 1.78%.
Asia was given a negative lead from the U.S., where the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both ended lower on Wednesday.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei fell from the previous session’s two-week high as the yen strengthened against the U.S. dollar, dampening sentiment.
USD/JPY fell to a session low of 101.97, moving off the previous day’s high of 102.64. A stronger yen reduces the value of overseas income at Japanese companies when repatriated, weighing on the outlook for export earnings.
Automakers Honda and Mazda saw shares fall 2.1% and 3.9% respectively, while Toyota slumped 2.2% after announcing it will recall nearly two million Prius cars globally.
Index heavyweights Fast Retailing and Fanuc slumped 2.5% and 2.6% respectively, while Softbank retreated 3.6% after reporting a 3.3% increase in operating profit after Wednesday''s market close.
Meanwhile, in Australia, the ASX/200 Index rose to a three-week high before turning lower after data showed that the economy lost 3,700 jobs in January, disappointing expectations for an increase of 15,000.
The jobless rate rose to a ten-year high of 6.0% last month, up from 5.8% in December.
The Australian dollar fell from the previous session’s one-month high of 0.9066 to trade at 0.8926 following the dismal jobs report.
In earnings news, shares in exchange operator ASX added 1.8% after the company said that its first half-year earnings rose 11%.
Australia’s largest telecommunications company Telstra picked up 0.8% after reporting a 9.2% gain in first half profit.
Elsewhere, in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng dropped from the previous session’s one-week high after Lenovo’s earnings report disappointed investors.
The Chinese personal-computer giant saw its fiscal third-quarter net profit rise 30% from a year earlier. However, the report failed to ease concerns over the company’s two recent large acquisitions, of Google’s Motorola Mobility handset business and IBM’s server business.
Investors looked ahead to inflation data out of China due on Friday to further gauge the strength of the world’s second largest economy.
Looking ahead, European stock market futures pointed to a mildly lower open. The EURO STOXX 50 futures pointed to a loss of 0.2%, France’s CAC 40 futures shed 0.2%, London’s FTSE 100 futures indicated a decline of 0.2%, while Germany''s DAX futures inched down 0.35%.
Across the Atlantic, U.S. equity markets also pointed to a weak open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a loss of 0.35%, S&P 500 futures dipped 0.3%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a decline of 0.4%.
The U.S. is to produce data on retail sales, as well as the weekly report on initial jobless claims.
Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is to testify on the bank’s semiannual monetary policy report before the House Financial Services Committee, in Washington.