SYDNEY, NSW, Australia - Stocks in Asia closed mostly lower on Thursday, although the Australian stock market made modest gains.
The worst performer was the Hong Kong Hang Seng which sank 414.22 points or 1.68 percent to 24,252.87.
In Tokyo the Nikkei index ended down 119.50 points or 0.51 percent at 23,507.23, with the healthcare and telecommunications sectors leading the way. The broader Topix declined 0.74 percent to 1,631.79.
"We believe the momentum underlying the current recovery will slow down gradually," Soichiro Matsumoto, chief investment officer for Japan at Credit Suisse, wrote in a memo as quoted by Reuters Thomson.
"The first factor is a potential tightening of restrictions on economic activity due to a second wave of COVID-19 infections. Another factor is increasingly enervated fiscal policy."
China's Shanghai Composite slid 8.60 points or 0.26 percent to 3,332.18.
The Australian All Ords, going against the regional trend, bounced up 26.80 points or 0.42 percent to 6,414.40.
The U.S. dollar gained ground in the Asian session, and was perking up as Europe was clicking in with equities there falling sharply.
The euro slipped to 1.1734 by the close in Sydney Thursday. The British pound fell to 1.2994. The Swiss franc eased to 0.9135.
The Canadian dollar slipped to 1.3164. The Australian dollar was sharply lower at 0.7098. The New Zealand dollar dropped more than a quarter-of-a-cent to 0.6627.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 165.81 points, or 0.58 percent, to 28,514.00. The S&P 500 fell 23.26 points, or 0.66 percent, to 3,488.67. The Nasdaq Composite Index sank 95.17 points, or 0.80 percent, to 11,768.73.