Asian stock markets turned lower on Thursday after weak Japanese trade figures underlined that global economy continues to struggle.
The Japanese data showed that the country’s powerhouse export sector was continuing to suffer the effects of a slowdown in Europe and elsewhere. Exports in August totaled 5.05 trillion yen ($64.33 billion), down 5.8 percent from a year earlier, the Japanese Finance Ministry said. Imports were also down. Exports to Europe sank 28 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.7 percent to 9,170.16. South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.5 percent to 1,997.26 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.4 percent to 20,751.04.
Asian stocks had rallied a day before, after the Bank of Japan announced an aggressive monetary easing program in an attempt to spur growth and counter the strength of the Japanese yen.
But the market impact of the Bank of Japan’s move was short-lived, a possible sign that investors are getting stimulus-wary.
The Bank of Japan’s move came days after the U.S. Federal Reserve revealed it will purchase an average of $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities a month until the economy shows significant improvement.
Andrew Sullivan, principal sales trader at Piper Jaffray in Hong Kong, said in an email that it was “disappointing that the initial rally on the BoJ stimulus did not hold.”
On Wednesday, Wall Street rose modestly following a pair of encouraging reports about the housing market.
Earlier, the government reported that construction of single-family homes in August also was the fastest in more than two years.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 0.1 percent at 13,577.96. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.1 percent to 1,461.05. The Nasdaq composite index rose 0.2 percent to 3,182.62.
Benchmark oil for October delivery was down 9 cents to $91.89 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract for crude fell $3.31 to finish at $91.98 per barrel on the Nymex on Wednesday.
In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3033 from $1.3063 late Wednesday in New York. The dollar was nearly unchanged at 78.37 yen from 78.39 yen.