Reuters - World share prices generally fell Wednesday on disappointing U.S. retail sales and worries rising coronavirus cases might stifle a fragile economic recovery.
U.S. S&P 500 futures shed 0.3% in Asia trade Wednesday.
Japan's Nikkei dropped 0.76% while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was little changed, drawing support from better handling of the pandemic in much of the region.
"Given the rapid gains over the last 10 days or so, a correction was inevitable," Daiwa Securities chief world strategist Hirokazu Kabeya said.
World stock indexes, measured by MSCI's broadest gauge of world equities, have risen more than 11% so far this month.
The retail sales report released by the U.S. Commerce Department showed spending decelerating as the holiday shopping season approaches is the absence of fresh government relief.
Several U.S. states began restricting gatherings and mandating face-coverings after more than 70,000 Americans were hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19 as of Monday, according to a Reuters tally of public health figures.
Investors had hailed two promising vaccine trial results published earlier this month.
"We're coming out of a solid two weeks so the market being down half a percent isn't that bad with the prospect of COVID lockdowns," Harris Financial Group Managing Partner Jamie Cox said.
U.S. Federal Reserve chairperson Jerome Powell said the current rise in coronavirus cases was a big concern and the economy would continue to need both fiscal and monetary policy support.
"The soft U.S. retail data is showing the impact of dwindling fiscal support. But the inconvenient truth is that governments no longer have lots of money to spend like they did earlier this year," said a trader at a large Japan bank. "That means investors will expect the Federal Reserve to do more and the U.S. yield curve will flatten."
Bond yields have come down with the 10-year U.S. Treasurys dropping to 0.851% - the lowest since Nov. 9 and off a seven-and-a-half-month high of 0.975% last week.
Falling U.S. yields put pressure on the U.S. dollar.
The dollar fell to 104.18 yen - erasing more than a half of its gains made Monday last week following the news about COVID-19 vaccine development.
The euro moved little at $1.1864 while the yuan hit a two-and-a-half-year high of 6.5455 per dollar in offshore trade.
Sterling held firm after UK tabloid the Sun reported that Britain could reach a post-Brexit trade agreement with the European Union by early next week. The pound changed hands at $1.3252.
Oil prices eased on a bigger-than-expected build in U.S. crude stocks, though hopes that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies will postpone a planned January increase to oil output braked losses. Brent crude futures fell 0.35% to $43.60 per barrel.