Tue, 18 Jan 2022

SYDNEY, NSW, Australia - Asian stock markets were wary on Thursday after major falls on local markets and overseas over the uncertainty brought about by the Omicron variant.

There were only modest moves in either direction on Asian bourses, with traders describing Thursday's market action as 'choppy' and 'flat.'

"All that anyone can do at the moment is wait for each headline as it breaks, as there are a series of outstanding questions about the new variant that remain largely unanswered and will remain unanswered for days or weeks," Kyle Rodda an analyst at Melbourne brokerage IG markets was quoted as saying by Reuters on Thursday.

"This is the first time in a really long time when markets haven't taken a bad development as another excuse to buy stocks expecting an increase in liquidity from the Fed," he added.

At the close of trading, the Australian All Ordinaries was down 23.70 points or 0.09 percent to 7,536.10.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 lost 182.25 points or 0.65 percent to 27,753.31.

China's Shanghai Composite barely moved, losing 3.5 points or 0.01 percent to 3,573.04.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong let go 130.01 points or 0.55 percent to 27,788.93.

The U.S. dollar was little changed during the Asian trading zone. The euro however crept a little higher to 1.1320. The British pound edged up to 1.3303. The Japanese yen softened to 113.20. The Swiss franc edged up to 0.9209.

The Canadian dollar was a fraction higher at 1.2788. The Australian dollar fell to 0.7108. The New Zealand dollar was little changed at 0.6818.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones dived 461.68 points or 1.34 percent to 34,022.04.

The Nasdaq Composite gave up 283.64 points or 1.83 percent, to close Wednesday at 15,254.25.

The Standard and Poor's 500 shed 53.91 points or 1.18 percent to 4,513.04.

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