Asia report: Markets mixed after another US tech sell-off
Most markets in Asia finished in the green on Friday, as investors reacted to another technology-led sell-off on Wall Street overnight, and digested the latest developments in UK-EU relations.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.74% at 23,406.49, as the yen weakened 0.09% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 106.23.
Automation specialist Fanuc was down 0.31%, while among the benchmark’s other major components, fashion firm Fast Retailing was up 1.14% and technology conglomerate SoftBank Group added 1.03%.
The broader Topix index managed gains of 0.72% by the end of trading, closing its trading day at 1,636.64.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite added 0.79% to 3,260.35, and the smaller, technology-heavy Shenzhen Composite rose 1.64% to 2,164.22.
South Korea’s Kospi eked out gains of 0.09% to 2,396.69, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong was ahead 0.78% to 24,503.31.
The blue-chip technology stocks were mixed in Seoul, with Samsung Electronics down 0.34%, while chipmaker SK Hynix was 2.35% firmer.
Investors in the region were met with further technology-led declines in the US overnight, where the Nasdaq Composite lost 2%.
They were also digesting a further deterioration in relations between the UK and the European Union, with analysts saying it was looking increasingly likely that prime minister Boris Johnson was heading for a hard Brexit at the end of the current transition period in December.
“Brexit has got nasty again,” said London Capital Group head of research Jasper Lawler.
“Reports suggest the EU may soon as early as today bring about legal action against the UK.”
Oil prices were mixed at the end of the Asian day, with Brent crude last down 0.23% at $39.97 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate rose 0.03% to $37.28.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.83% to 5,859.40, as Sydney-listed shares of mining giant Rio Tinto fell 0.59%.
That came after the company confirmed the departure of chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques following the legal, but highly controversial, destruction of Aboriginal sites as part of its mine development work.
Shares in its peers on the bourse were also weaker, with BHP down 1.16% and Fortescue Metals off 3.07%.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 was 0.54% weaker at 11,748.03, as retailer Briscoe Group added 4.2%.
Both of the down under dollars were stronger on the greenback, with the Aussie last ahead 0.51% at AUD 1.3708, and the Kiwi advancing 0.47% to NZD 1.4963.