Japan’s Nikkei 225 drops nearly 2% as Asia-Pacific stocks slip

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SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific slipped in Friday morning trade, with Japanese stocks leading losses regionally.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan dropped 1.73% as shares of Fast Retailing and SoftBank Group both declined more than 2% each while the Topix index fell 1.4%. South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.41%.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia fell 0.62%. Australia’s retail sales in October jumped 4.9% month-on-month, seasonally adjusted, according to official estimates released Friday. That was far higher than the 2.5% increase predicted in a Reuters poll.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.2% lower.

Stock picks and investing trends from CNBC Pro:

In Covid developments, World Health Organization officials said Thursday they are monitoring a new variant with “a large number of mutations.” A special meeting is scheduled for Friday to discuss its implications for vaccines and treatments.

Markets in the U.S. were closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

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