KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo s Nikkei 225 fell 0.4 percent to 20,398.95 and South Korea s Kospi was down 0.3 percent to 2,067.76. Hong Kong s Hang Seng dropped 0.4 percent to 27,431.29 and Australia s S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.1 percent to 5,498.60. Stocks in Southeast Asia were lower. But stocks in mainland China rose.
ANALYST S TAKE: “Greek debt negotiations at crunch point and data on U.S. jobs and China s trade to be released … a safety first approach seems logical,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst atCMC MARKETS.
GREEK UNCERTAINTY: A meeting Wednesday between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the head of the European Union s executive arm ran into the early morning hours on Thursday yet failed to yield an agreement to release vital loans. Later Thursday, Greece told the International Monetary Fund that it would postpone a payment due Friday and bundle it together with three other payments at the end of the month. Greece s decision illustrates how much it is struggling to meet its financial obligations without rescue, and the possibility that Greece could default on its debts and become the first country to drop the euro currency made investors nervous.
WALL STREET: The Standard & Poor s 500 index lost 18.23 points, or 0.9 percent, to finish at 2,095.84. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 170.69 points, or 0.9 percent, to 17,905.58 and the Nasdaq composite lost 40.11 points, or 0.8 percent, to 5,059.12.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude added 4 cents to $58.03 a barrel in electronic trading on theNEW YORK MERCANTILEExchange. The contract fell $1.64 to close at $58.00 a barrel on Thursday on expectations that OPEC will decide to keep its output high at its Friday meeting in Vienna. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil used by many U.S. refineries, rose 14 cents to $62.17 in London.