The Asian stock markets figure to open on a cautious note on Friday, with investors waiting and listening for hints of forthcoming stimulus from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
The Fed chief will speak at the Kansas City Fed's Jackson Hole symposium later in the day - and traders are hoping that Bernanke will make comments indicating whether the central bank will engage in another round of quantitative easing.
Adding to the cautious sentiment, the U.S. Labor Department reported that jobless claims failed to improve last week, as was expected.
The major U.S. averages were down on Thursday as the S&P 500 fell 11.01 points or 0.8 percent to finish at 1,399.48, while the Dow slid 106.77 points or 0.8 percent to end at 13,000.71 and the NASDAQ dropped 32.48 points or 1.1 percent to close at 3,048.71.
The major European were all down on Thursday as the DAX of Germany dropped 1.64 percent, while the CAC 40 of France fell 1.02 percent, the FTSE 100 of the U.K. decreased 0.42 percent and the SMI of Switzerland finished lower by 0.68 percent.
The Asian markets were mostly lower on Thursday as Indonesia plunged 1.65 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng plummeted 1.19 percent, South Korea's KOSPI fell 1.15 percent, Singapore's Straits Times shed 0.98 percent, Japan's Nikkei retreated 0.95 percent, Australia dipped 0.94 percent, Thailand lost 0.46 percent, Taiwan was down 0.26 percent, China's Shanghai Composite eased 0.03 percent, India added 0.29 percent and Malaysia was up 0.03 percent.
Markets in Malaysia will be closed on Friday for the National Day holiday.
by RTT Staff Writer
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