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Asia shares mostly lower as US futures point to further turmoil stateside

Key Points
  • Shares in Asia were mostly lower on Thursday.
  • Futures pointed to further volatility for the U.S. markets at Thursday's open, after Apple warned that its first quarter sales would come in lower than previously expected.
  • Apple blamed a variety of factors for the lowered guidance, including a weakening economy in China and lower-than-expected iPhone revenue.

Major stocks indexes in Asia were mostly lower on Thursday as U.S. futures pointed to another volatile session for Wall Street after Apple lowered guidance for first quarter and warned of weaker sales in China.

South Korea's Kospi fell 0.81 percent to finish its trading day at 1,993.70 as shares of Apple suppliers Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix dropped 2.97 percent and 4.79 percent, respectively.

Over in the Greater China region, the Hang Seng index gave up earlier gains to slip 0.22 percent, as of its final hour of trade.

The mainland Chinese markets, watched in relation to Beijing's ongoing tariff fight with Washington, reversed its earlier gains. The Shanghai composite closed largely flat at about 2,464.36 while the tech-heavy Shenzhen composite fell 0.798 percent to finish its trading day at around 1,246.37. The Shenzhen component lost 0.837 percent to close at about 7,089.44.

The in Australia, however, rose 1.36 percent to close at 5,633.40, with all the sectors seeing gains. The energy subindex rose 2.97 percent as shares of oil-related companies saw gains on the back of Wednesday's strong rally in oil prices. Santos jumped 3.98 percent, Oil Search rose 2.59 percent and Woodside Petroleum advanced 3.44 percent.

"Asian markets may attempt to recover some of yesterday's losses but are likely to remain cautious for now and await further cues on the US," said OCBC Treasury Research in a morning note.

Japan's stock markets were closed for a holiday on Thursday.

Asia-Pacific Market Indexes Chart

Wall Street turbulence

In overnight market action stateside, stocks capped a wild session with fractional gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 18.78 points higher at 23,346.24 and the rose 0.1 percent to close at 2,510.03. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.46 percent to 6,665.94.

Earlier during the session, the Dow had plunged almost 400 points while the Nasdaq and S&P 500 shed more than 1 percent.

Futures pointed to further volatility for the U.S. markets at Thursday's open, after Apple warned that its first quarter sales would come in lower than previously expected.

Shares of major Apple suppliers in Taiwan saw declines following the Cupertino-based tech giant's revenue guidance downgrade. Chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company dropped 1.82 percent while contract manufacturing firms Hon Hai Precision, better known as Foxconn, fell 1.71 percent and Pegatron declined by 1.2 percent.

Apple blamed a variety of factors for the lowered guidance, including a weakening economy in China and lower-than-expected iPhone revenue. Apple said the lower-than-anticipated revenue happened "primarily in Greater China," but also said that upgrades to new iPhone models in other countries were "not as strong as we thought they would be."

The Invesco QQQ Trust, which tracks the tech heavy Nasdaq-100 Index, lost more than 2 percent in after hours trading on Wednesday. Apple shares cratered by 7 percent. The S&P 500 ETF Trust, tracking the broader market, lost more than 1 percent in extended trading.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped 338 points shortly after the open of trading Wednesday evening. As of 2:10 a.m. ET Thursday, Dow futures pointed to an implied plunge of 319.24 points for the index when it opens on Thursday. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also pointed to declines for the two indexes at Thursday's open.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.499 after touching an earlier low of 96.425.

The Japanese yen rose sharply against the U.S. dollar in early Asian trade as investors sought safety in the Japanese currency. The yen last traded at 107.39 after seeing an earlier high of 104.96.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar was at $0.6940, having crossed the $0.70 level overnight — a phenomenon not seen since Feb. 2016.

— CNBC's John Melloy and Steve Kovach contributed to this report.