Asian shares followed U.S. equities lower Friday on growing anxiety that the spread of Covid-19 variants could hamper the global economic recovery.
Stocks fell in Japan, Australia and South Korea. Futures were steady in Hong Kong, where a key gauge of Chinese stocks is near a bear market.
U.S. contracts fluctuated after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 retreated from records. Economically-sensitive sectors such as industrials and materials led Wall Street lower.
The Singapore-traded SGX Nifty, an early indicator of India’s Nifty 50 Index’s performance, was little changed at 15,698 as of 7:05 a.m.
Oil rebounded after a U.S. government report showed rapidly declining inventories and record-high fuel demand in the midst of the peak summer travel season. Bitcoin has fallen back toward the lower end of a trading range amid a pull back in cryptocurrencies.
In the culmination of an 18-month review published Thursday, ECB policy makers raised their inflation target to 2% and said they would tolerate moderate overshoots. In China, authorities have signaled they may soon unleash more support for the economy, an unexpected shift in tone that suggests the world’s fastest pandemic recovery may be weaker than it appears.