Japan stocks drop nearly 2%; Samsung estimates 50% jump in first-quarter profit

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SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific markets dropped on Thursday following two days of declines on Wall Street.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 1.87% in early trade, while the Topix slid 1.98%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.58%.

In Korea, the Kospi slipped 0.93% while the Kosdaq declined 1.02%.

Nasdaq and Hong Kong-listed JD.com announced that Xu Lei will succeed founder Richard Liu as CEO of the company effective immediately. Liu will remain chairman of the board of directors, while Xu will be an executive director.

Last year, Liu stepped back from day-to-day operations, and Xu was named president of JD.

In central bank news, the Reserve Bank of India will continue its monetary policy meeting on Thursday.

Overnight in the U.S., major stock indexes fell for a second day as investors reacted to Fed guidance on tightening monetary policy.

Fed meeting minutes showed that officials are looking to shrink the balance sheet by $95 billion a month. Interest rates are also expected to rise more quickly.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 144.67 points, or 0.42%, to 34,496.51. The S&P 500 fell 0.97% to 4,481.15, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped another 2.22% to 13,888.82 after falling about 2.3% on Tuesday.

The 10-year Treasury yield rose to a three-year high above 2.65% on Wednesday and was last at 2.5807%.

On the economic front, U.S. weekly jobless claims data is set to be released Thursday morning in the U.S.

Oil up more than 1%

Both crude benchmarks rose more than 1% on Thursday morning in Asia.

U.S. crude futures rose 1.38% to trade at $97.56 per barrel, while Brent crude was up 1.43% at $102.52 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, last traded at 99.568.

The Japanese yen traded at 123.65 per dollar, while the Australian dollar was at $0.7511, slightly weaker than yesterday’s levels.

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