Asian stocks fell early Monday after U.S. shares fell to a two-month low on Friday and oil declined anew. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.6 percent after already declining on Friday after the Bank of Japan adjusted its stimulus program. Singapore's STI declined 0.3 percent and Australia's ASX 200 slipped 0.1 percent. Korea's KOSPI rose 0.2 percent.
In the U.S. on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.8 percent, the S&P 500 0.3 percent and the Nasdaq Composite 0.2 percent.
Investor confidence has suffered on concern that slumping oil prices would further hurt energy companies and the many businesses and countries that supply them. That raises worries about a global recovery already in doubt because of China's economic slowdown. The U.S. Federal Reserve's historic interest rate increase last week, signaling confidence in the U.S. economy, provided only temporary relief.
“The problems that have been affecting both markets and the global economy for months remain in place,” said Stewart Richardson, chief investment officer at RMG Wealth Management in London, as reported by Bloomberg. “Commodity prices remain low, corporate debt remains too high and emerging markets continue to struggle. Furthermore, although Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen continues to characterize the U.S. economy as strong, it does appear to be slowing down.”
Oil, which was trading at $100 a barrel in mid-2014, fell below $40 two weeks ago after Saudi Arabia refused to cut production to boost prices. The U.S. benchmark fell 0.6 percent to $34.73 on Friday, resulting in a third weekly loss, Reuters said.