Morning Report

Equity

Stocks in Asia declined in morning trade on Friday on the back of an overnight slide in shares stateside, as investors grappled with fresh concerns over the state of the global economy.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.95 percent in early trade. The Topix also slipped 1.04 percent. Over in South Korea, the Kospi shed 0.58 percent .

Meanwhile, the ASX 200 in Australia fell around 0.5 percent in morning trade

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 200.23 points to close at 25,473.23 and the S&P 500 declined 0.8 percent to finish its trading day at 2,748.93.

The Nasdaq Composite fell 1.1 percent to close at 7,421.46. The indexes posted their fourth consecutive loss.

Those moves downward came on the back of the European Central Bank (ECB) cutting its growth forecast for 2019 and announcing a fresh round of stimulus to aid banks in the region.

ECB President Mario Draghi said the central bank cut its growth estimate to 1.1 percent, down from a 1.7 percent expansion forecast released in December.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.667 after seeing a low below 97.0 yesterday.

The Japanese yen, often regarded as a safe-haven currency, traded at 111.58 against the dollar after highs around 111.5 yesterday. The Australian dollarchanged hands at $0.7016 after declining from the $0.705 handle in the previous session.

Oil

Oil prices edged higher on Thursday, supported by OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions against exporters Venezuela and Iran, but gains were capped by falling stock markets and renewed concerns over demand growth.

Brent crude futures gained 31 cents, or 0.47 percent, to settle at $66.30 a barrel.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 44 cents, or 0.78 percent, to settle at $56.66 a barrel.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies such as Russia this year have aimed to cut output and tighten oil markets, which has supported prices.

U.S. sanctions against the oil industries of OPEC members Iran and Venezuela have also supported futures.

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