ASIA MARKETS: Asian Stocks Hit The Brakes At End Of Choppy Week

02/17/17 05:31 AM EST

By Ese Erheriene

Nikkei slumps, Samsung's decline weighs on Kospi

Global investors showed caution Thursday, as a weaker U.S. dollar and profit-taking sent major Asian stock indexes lower, despite a strong overnight lead from Wall Street.

Following a surge in regional equities Wednesday, appetite for risk cooled amid currency headwinds and broader global political uncertainty. The moves reflect a pattern of choppy trading in recent weeks.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average closed down 0.6% at 19,234.62, hitting a six-day low earlier in the session at 19,173.53 points. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 finished 0.2% lower, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.3% and Korea's Kospi ended flat.

"A week-long 'Trump rally' has possibly to come to an end," said Jane Fu, a sales trader at CMC Markets.

Overnight in the U.S., the S&P 500 ended down 0.1%, capping its longest run of gains since 2013, after a week that saw the major U.S. indexes hit successive new highs. The Nasdaq Composite also fell 0.1%, though the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up less than 0.1% to a fresh high.

In Japan, real estate, energy, and auto stocks led the declines. Major property developer Mitsui Fudosan (8801.TO) fell 3%, oil explorer Inpex (1605.TO) lost 1% and Suzuki Motor (7269.TO) fell 1.8%.

In Korea, Samsung Electronics (005930.SE) shares fell after a court approved an arrest warrant for Lee Jae-yong, the company's vice chairman and de facto leader of the Samsung conglomerate, as part of a wider corruption scandal that saw the country's president impeached. The stock, which has the largest weighting on Korea's benchmark Kospi index, was last down 1.5%.

Elsewhere, Singapore's economy expanded 12.3% from the previous quarter on a seasonally adjusted and annualized basis in the October-to-December period, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a statement Friday. That was a faster pace of expansion than an initial estimate of 9.1%, helping push growth for the year to 2.0%, well above the 1.5% upper range of a government forecast for 2016.

   Singapore's Strait Times Index   rose 0.3%. 
 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 17, 2017 05:31 ET (10:31 GMT)

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