Asia report: Stocks finish weaker as oil prices slide
Markets were lower at the end of Wednesday’s session in Asia, with technology firms in Hong Kong among the biggest losers, as oil prices also weakened.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was down 0.37% at 26,149.55, as the yen strengthened 0.37% on the dollar to last trade at JPY 136.07.
Technology conglomerate SoftBank Group slipped 0.99%, while automation specialist Fanuc was up 0.26% and fashion firm Fast Retailing gained 0.72%.
The broader Topix index was 0.19% weaker by the end of trading in Tokyo, settling at 1,852.65.
Japan’s central bank released the minutes from its most recent meeting during the day, having maintained its ultra-easy monetary policy last week.
“Many members expressed the view that underlying inflation, measured by the CPI excluding such factors as energy, remained relatively low,” the Bank of Japan policy makers said in the minutes.
They said most members of the board expected both short- and long-term interest rates to remain where they are, or possibly move lower.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite fell 1.2% at 3,267.20, and the technology-heavy Shenzhen Component was 1.43% lower at 12,246.55.
South Korea’s Kospi slid 2.74% to 2,342.81, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong tumbled 2.56% to 21,008.34.
Chinese tech plays were on the back foot in the special administrative region, with Alibaba Group down 4.06%, Meituan losing 4.77%, NetEase off 2.45%, and Tencent Holdings 2.89% weaker.
The blue-chip technology stocks were weaker in Seoul as well, with Samsung Electronics down 1.54% and SK Hynix losing 3.15%.
“European markets underwent another day of stabilisation yesterday after the turmoil of last week, however the gains were still modest when compared to the slide seen last week,” said CMC Markets chief market analyst Michael Hewson of the global situation on Wednesday morning.
“US markets also returned from their extended weekend break, with an equally positive session, with the Nasdaq 100 helping to lead the way higher.
“While stock markets have stabilised over the last couple of days yields have continued to look sticky with bigger rises on the longer end of the curve.”
Hewson added that despite yesterday’s gains, the European open was a negative one, as a slide in oil prices over demand concerns weighed on the wider narrative, prompting weakness in Asia markets as well as US futures.
Oil prices remained in the red at the end of the Asian day, with Brent crude futures last down 4.32% at $109.72 per barrel on ICE, and the NYMEX quote for West Texas Intermediate losing 4.82% to $104.24.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was off 0.23% at 6,508.50, while across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 lost 0.21% to 10,678.67.
The down under dollars were both weaker against the greenback, with the Aussie last off 0.96% at AUD 1.4479, and the Kiwi retreating 1.15% to NZD 1.5970.
Reporting by Josh White at Sharecast.com.