Asian stocks fall in thin trading after Wall Street's slide

Asian shares mostly dropped in thin trading Thursday, taking their cue from a slide on Wall Street as the stronger yen helped send Japanese stocks lower.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 1.4 percent to 19,122.24, as the strengthening yen, which reduces export earnings, weighed on market sentiments. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 recouped earlier losses and inched up nearly 0.1 percent to 5,689.40. South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.1 percent to 2,023.35. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.1 percent to 21,733.26, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.2 percent at 3,109.14. Shares were also lower in Taiwan.

WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 111.36 points, or 0.6 percent, to 19,833.68. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 18.96 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,249.92. The Nasdaq composite, which set a record high close the day before, slid 48.89 points, or 0.9 percent, to 5,438.56.

THE QUOTE: “With the series of weak leads, Asian equities could reverse some of the gains clocked in the day prior,” says Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.

TAKATA UP: Shares of Takata Corp., the Japanese air bag manufacturer at the center of a massive recall, jumped 16 percent amid growing speculation that a settlement would be reached with the U.S. authorities on the criminal charges as early as next month. Sixteen deaths around the world have been linked to Takata air bag inflators that can explode with too much force.

NEW YEAR FACTOR: Also adding to the pessimism is the light global trading ahead of the New Year’s…

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