AFP- Asian markets were down across the board on Friday after disappointing US earnings and a bearish outlook on hopes for a Fed rate cut weighed on Wall Street overnight.
Tesla and American Airlines both suffered bruising declines after posting quarterly results, while Amazon reported a slowdown in earnings growth as it ramped up one-day delivery operations.
American stocks had been bolstered in recent weeks by expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates next week.
But strong American economic data, including Thursday’s report showing an increase in durable goods sales in June, has investors fearing a less dovish Fed announcement.
"Markets are getting nervous that Fed could disappoint next week," said OANDA senior market analyst Edward Moya.
Recent data also showed that Washington’s long-running trade war with Beijing was "not having a terrible impact" on the American economy, he added, tempering hopes of a sizeable rate cut.
Tokyo was down 0.5 percent at the break as investors went into profit-taking mode ahead of the weekend.
Japan’s SoftBank Group was down 0.1 percent after it announced a new $108-billion fund to drive investment in artificial intelligence.
Beleaguered automaker Nissan was off 2.6 percent after announcing a 95-percent plunge in quarterly net profit and the shedding of 12,500 jobs on Thursday.
Chip-testing equipment maker Advantest slipped after a 20.2-percent surge Thursday on better-than-expected quarterly earnings.
Hong Kong fell by 0.5 percent and Shanghai dropped 0.2 percent while Taiwan and Singapore were both down.
Sydney pared Thursday’s gains on the back of central bank chief Philip Lowe hinting at further rate cuts, after Australia’s competition watchdog called for measures to better police internet giants Google and Facebook.
– Euro in flux –
On currency markets, the euro hit two-year lows before rallying Thursday after the European Central Bank signalled it could soon undertake new stimulus measures and cut rates to boost flagging growth and inflation in Europe.
Bank chief Mario Draghi’s statement had put a drag on European stocks, said National Australia Bank’s Rodrigo Catril.
"The lack of detail alongside a lack of urgency, notwithstanding an explicit acknowledgement of things getting worse, looks to have disappointed the market," he said.
European stocks fell, with investors focused on the region’s tepid outlook.
– Key figures around 0300 GMT –
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.5 percent at 21,647.29 (break)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.5 percent at 28,449.07
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.2 percent at 2,930.82
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2447 from $1.2452 at 2040 GMT
Euro/pound: UP at 89.56 pence from 89.50 pence
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1136 from $1.1145
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 108.60 yen from 108.66 yen
West Texas Intermediate: UP 17 cents at $56.19 per barrel
Brent North Sea crude: FLAT at $63.39 per barrel
New York – Dow: DOWN 0.5 percent at 27,140.98 (close)
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.2 percent at 7,489.05 (close)