SYDNEY, Australia - Asian stock markets generally tanked on Friday, alrthough the ASX in Australia managed to eke out a small gain.
At the close of trading Friday the Hong Kong Hang Seng had shed 531.21 points or 1.87% to 27,900.80.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 gave up 239.08 points or 1.13% to 20,900.63.
China's Shanghai Composite dropped 38.69 points or 1.42% to 2,682.39.
Meantime the Australian All Ordinaries edged up 9.00 points or 0.15% to finish Friday at 6,148.60.
The U.S. dollar was slightly lower on Friday during the Asian session. The euro inched up to 1.1274. The British pound regained the 1.2800 handle to trade at 1.2811 around the Sydney close Friday.
The Japanese yen was in demand at 110.33, as was the Swiss franc at 1.006.
The Canadian dollar was a few basis points lower at 1.3301, as was the Australian dollar at 0.7092. The New Zealand dollar however trended slightly higher to 0.6830 Friday.
Overnight on Wall Street, data showed retail sales in the U.S. fell 1.2% in December, a result that shocked the markets as it was the biggest fall since the GFC.
Stocks fell sharply but receovered somewhat as the day wore on.
At the close of trading Thursday the Dow Jones industrials were down 103.91 points or 0.41% at 25,439.39.
The Standard and Poor's 500 dipped 7.30 points or 0.27% to 2,745.73.
The Nasdaq Composite gained 6.57 points or 0.09% to 7,426.95.