Asian stocks slips on weaker Wall Street, soft China data

A man looking at an electronic screen showing stock information at a brokerage house in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China, on May 9, 2016.
A man looking at an electronic screen showing stock information at a brokerage house in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China, on May 9, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Asian stocks slipped early on Monday (May 16), weighed down by Friday's decline on Wall Street and soft Chinese economic data released over the weekend.

The US dollar firmed against the euro and yen after receiving a boost from upbeat US indicators on Friday.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipped 0.1 per cent. South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.2 per cent and Australian shares inched down 0.1 per cent.

Japan's Nikkei bucked the trend and climbed 0.4 per cent.

The Dow shed 1 per cent and the S&P 500 fell 0.9 per cent on Friday after gloomy earnings from consumer companies overshadowed strong April retail sales numbers.

China's investment, factory output and retail sales all grew more slowly than expected in April, adding to doubts about whether the world's second-largest economy is stabilising, data released on Saturday showed.

"Chinese data over the weekend managed to miss market expectations for every single release: credit growth, industrial production, retail sales, and fixed-asset investment," wrote Angus Nicholson, market analyst at IG in Melbourne. "The miss on the activity front wasn't a huge surprise given we already saw a levelling off in the PMIs, but the dramatic slowing in credit growth will be raising some red flags in the already-reversing commodities space."

Aluminium reached a one-month low and copper plumbed its lowest level since late February on Friday.

Commodities were hurt as the dollar reached a two-week high against a basket of currencies on Friday's upbeat April US retail sales data, which jumped 1.3 per cent for the largest gain since March 2015.

A stronger greenback tends to weigh on non-US buyers of dollar-denominated commodities.

The dollar was steady at 108.685 yen after spiking briefly on Friday to 109.57, its highest since late April, in reaction to the strong US data. The euro was flat at US$1.1314 after slipping to a two-week low of US$1.1283 on Friday.

The Australian dollar was little changed at US$0.7274 , not too far from a 2-1/2-month low of US$0.7236 probed earlier on Monday.

US crude oil nudged up 0.15 per cent to US$46.26 a barrel after shedding more than 1 per cent Friday on the dollar's gains. Brent rose 0.1 per cent to US$47.89 a barrel after falling 0.5 per cent on Friday.