Asian stocks dropped, extending a selloff in global shares as crude oil extended declines. The yen climbed after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe secured victory in Japan’s elections, while Australia’s dollar retreated.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index sank 0.7 percent by 9:17 a.m. in Tokyo, set for its lowest close since Oct. 21. Japan’s Topix index slid 1.4 percent as the yen jumped, gaining 0.6 percent versus the dollar and the euro. The Aussie slipped 0.2 percent as mining stocks drove a 1.1 percent drop in Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 Index. (AS51) West Texas Intermediate oil sank 2.4 percent to $56.37 a barrel, dropping for a fourth straight day. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures were little changed after a slump Dec. 12 sealed the U.S. gauge’s first weekly drop since mid October.
Oil prices have tumbled by more than $40 a barrel this year as U.S. shale output contributes to a global glut amid forecasts for a drop in demand. WTI extending losses below $58 ignited a selloff in U.S. equities Dec. 12, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDU) erasing 100 points in the last hour of trading. In Japan, Abe’s ruling bloc won more than two-thirds of the seats in the lower house, while the Tankan survey of confidence among manufacturers unexpectedly dropped this quarter.