SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian stock markets were weaker Thursday after Wall Street fell following a strong U.S. job ads report that added to the case for the Fed's first rate hike in years.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 sagged 2.9 percent to 18,234.67 one day after surging 7.7 percent in its biggest gain since October 2008. South Korea's Kospi edged down 0.1 percent to 1,931.98. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 2.2 percent to 21,638.25 and China's Shanghai Composite Index declined 1.1 percent to 3,207.37. Stocks in Australia and Southeast Asia were also lower.
ANALYST'S TAKE: "Just when you thought risk sentiment is on the mend, it unceremoniously crumbles in the U.S. markets," said Bernard Aw, a market strategist at IG. "This is going to deal a blow to Asia today. The risk-on mode is likely to give way to yet another cautious trading session or worse."
FED WATCH: A report from the Labor Department on Wednesday showed that U.S. employers advertised the most jobs in the 15 years that the government has tracked the data. Job openings soared 8 percent to 5.75 million in July, adding to evidence that hiring remains strong and may prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at its meeting next week for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis. Ultra-low interest rates have been a boon for stock markets for several years.
WALL STREET: U.S. stock markets closed lower on Wednesday after a rally in the morning, as jobs data raised chances of the Fed rate hike. The Dow ended 1.5 percent lower at 16,253.57. The Standard & Poor's 500 dropped 0.8 percent to 1,942.04. The Nasdaq composite fell 1.2 percent to 4,756.53.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 56 cents to $43.59 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.79 to close at $44.15 a barrel on Wednesday in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, lost 71 cents to $46.87 in London.
CURRENCIES: The U.S. dollar rose to 120.37 yen from 120.28 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1217 from $1.1219.