Asian stocks down as US retail sales fall

<p>Asian shares fell today on weak US data.</p>

Asian stocks fell today (October 16th), after a sell-off in Tokyo and disappointing US data. The US Commerce Department said retail sales fell in September for the first time in seven months. Total retail and food services sales dropped 0.3 per cent from August.

The news led to fears that the US economy may be feeling the effects of the struggling eurozone and a slowdown in China growth.

"There’s been a significant correction in US equities and that’s shaken investor confidence,” Toby Lawson, head of futures, options and cash equities trading for Asia-Pacific at Newedge Group SA told Bloomberg. "Geopolitical risks and the spread of Ebola are adding to global economic uncertainties. When the market is a state of flux, everything gets amplified."

The Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.7 per cent, while Japan’s Topix sank 2.3 per cent and South Korea’s Kospi index slid 0.4 per cent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.2 per cent. Hong Kong lost 1.03 per cent to close at 22,900.94.

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