Major Asian stock indexes dropped modestly Thursday, taking cues from declines in U.S. stocks after a string of top-flight retail companies released disappointing earnings.
The U.S. market falls came despite gains in oil prices on better-than-expected inventories data. Shares of Disney had their worst day since Jan 15, while Macy's closed down almost 15.2 percent.
In Australia, the benchmark ASX 200 closed down 12.99 points, or 0.24 percent, at 5,359.30, led by a 0.88 percent decline in the financials sub-index, which makes up nearly 50 percent of the broader benchmark.
Some of Australia's major banks came under pressure, with shares of ANZ closing down 0.53 percent and Westpac tumbling 3.58 percent. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia and the National Australia Bank, on the other hand, closed up 0.32 and 1.07 percent, respectively.
The Australian Financial Review (AFR) reported that the country's financial regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), was preparing to lodge a longer statement of claim against Westpac on Friday.
The regulator had previously accused Westpac of market manipulation related to the setting of the bank bill swap reference rate between April 2010 and June 2012, the AFR reported. Westpac has reportedly denied the allegations, and accused ASIC of failing to understand interest rate risk management practices.