Stocks trade lower; Australia retail sales data ahead

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific declined in Tuesday morning trade following investor jitters overnight on Wall Street over a new coronavirus strain in the U.K.In Japan, the Nikkei 225 declined 0.42% in early trading while the Topix index shed 0.78%. South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.43%.Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.35%.MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.12% lower.Preliminary Australian retail sales figures for November are set to be out at around 8:30 a.m. HK/SIN. Ahead of that data release, the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7576, after dropping below $0.75 yesterday.Developments surrounding the coronavirus pandemic will likely continue to weigh on investor sentiment, following the discovery of a new Covid strain in the U.K. that has prompted tighter lockdowns and travel restrictions across Europe.CurrenciesThe U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.043 after a jump to levels above 90.8 earlier.The Japanese yen traded at 103.31 per dollar, after strengthening from levels above 103.6 against the greenback yesterday.Here’s a look at what’s on tap:Australia: Preliminary retail sales data for November at 8:30 a.m. HK/SIN

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