U.S. stock indices declined on Thursday with Wal-Mart stocks leading declines amid a weaker-than-expected quarterly report. Lower oil prices weighed on stocks too.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 40.40 points, or 0.3%, to 16,413.43. The S&P 500 lost 8.99 points, or 0.5%, to 1,917.83 (eight out of its ten sectors declined). The Nasdaq Composite fell 46.53 points, or 1%, to 4,487.54.
Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Survey showed that business activity improved in the region in February. The corresponding index rose to -2.8 points from -3.5 in January. Economists had expected the index to climb to -3.0.
The U.S. leading indicators index from the Conference Board fell by 0.2% to 123.2 (2010=100) in January after a 0.3% decline in December and 0.5% rise in November. The latest reading was in line with forecasts.
This morning in Asia Hong Kong Hang Seng fell 0.35%, or 67.75 points, to 19,295.33. China Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.17%, or 4.74 points, to 2,858.15. Meanwhile the Nikkei fell 1.43%, or 231.89 points, to 15,964.91.
Asian stock indices fell following declines in U.S. equities. A stronger yen put additional pressure on stocks of Japanese exporters. The yen rose by almost 10% against the dollar in the past three weeks.