Asian stocks drop following Wall Street retreat

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Friday, January 17, 2014

MANILA, Philippines -- Most Asian markets declined Friday following a retreat in Wall Street due to a poor start to the company earnings season.

Japan's Nikkei 225 dipped 0.1 percent to 15,736.02. China's Shanghai Composite index sank 0.6 percent to 2,012.33 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.8 percent at 23,179.82 after slipping in early trading.

Benchmarks in the rest of the region were almost all in the red. Australia's S&P ASX 200 was down 0.2 percent at 5,298.90. South Korea's Kospi was down 0.3 percent at 1,950.88, and markets in Southeast Asia too were down.

A day after eking out its first record high of 2014, the U.S. stock market lost ground Thursday as electronics retailer Best Buy, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, and railroad CSX had disappointing earnings news. Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 2.49 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,845.89, retreating from the all-time high it hit the day before.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 64.93 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,417.01. The Nasdaq composite had a modest gain of 3.8 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,218.69.

Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG in Melbourne, Australia, said the negative sentiment in Asia is a follow-through from the pullback in the U.S. markets.

"It is a situation whereby U.S. markets have rallied to record highs, the S&P that is, just a couple of days ago, then of course investors will get a little bit nervous at high levels," he said. "I think they'd really like to see the earnings come out just to back up the theory that the U.S. markets are on the mend and is in a much better place now."

He said earnings reports of other big companies are expected later Friday, giving "some investors a reason to stay out of the market and just keep a close eye on the situation" heading into the weekend.

Benchmark crude for February delivery fell 0.01 cent to $93.97 in electronic trading at the New York Merchantile Exchange. The contract fell 21 cents to settle at $93.96 on Thursday.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3616 from $1.3615 late Thursday. The dollar fell to 104.32 yen from 104.39 yen.(AP)

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