Asian stocks ended broadly lower on Wednesday after technology stocks led a broad slide on Wall Street overnight on jitters about inflation and signs of slowing economic growth.
China’s Shanghai Composite index fell 65.92 points, or 1.83 per cent, to 3,536.29, as investors looked ahead to the release of the manufacturing, non-manufacturing and Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers’ indexes on Thursday.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 163.11 points, or 0.67 per cent, to 24,663.50, as cash-strapped China Evergrande unveiled plans to sell its 19.93-per-cent stake in Shengjing Bank.
Japanese shares ended sharply lower on concerns about rising bond yields and the US debt-ceiling row. The Nikkei average fell 639.67 points, or 2.12 per cent, to settle at 29,544.29, while the broader Topix index closed 2.09 per cent lower at 2,038.29.
Shortly after the closing bell, Fumio Kishida won the ruling party’s leadership vote, setting him on course to become the next prime minister.
High-tech shares faced strong selling pressure, with Screen Holdings, Tokyo Electron and Advantest plummeting 4-6 per cent. Japan Post plunged 5.7 per cent amid reports that the government may kick off the process to sell about 950 billion yen (8.5 billion dollars) of shares in the company as early as this week.
Australian markets hit a four-month low as the coronavirus situation in the country, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria, remained a concern. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 ended down 78.90 points, or 1.08 per cent, at 7,196.70, while the broader All Ordinaries index slipped 80.90 points, or 1.07 per cent, to 7,500.20.
Technology stocks followed their US peers lower, with Afterpay and Nearmap losing 4-5 per cent. Mineral Resources slumped 5.6 per cent and Champion Iron gave up 3.7 per cent as iron ore prices declined on the back of power outages in China and lingering concerns about Evergrande’s default.
Gold miners rose across the board, with Silver Lake Resources, Regis Resources and St Barbara climbing 5-7 per cent.
Seoul stocks hit a one-month low as tech heavyweights succumbed to heavy selling pressure on concerns about the widening power crunch in China. The Kospi average ended down 37.65 points, or 1.22 per cent, at 3,060.27, after having fallen as much as 2.17 per cent, to its lowest since March 29 earlier in the session.
Samsung Electronics declined 2.4 per cent and SK Hynix shed 3.4 per cent after Micron Technology Inc, the largest US maker of memory chips, forecast current quarter revenue below analysts’ expectations and warned that shipments for its memory chips were set to dip in the near term.
New Zealand shares ended a tad lower amid mounting concerns about the debt ceiling impasse in Washington. The benchmark NZX-50 index dropped 54.59 points, or 0.41 per cent, to 13,119.79. Meridian Energy fell 3.4 per cent and Contact Energy lost 1.8 per cent.
US stocks tumbled overnight as a surge in Treasury yields hit mega-cap technology stocks and weak consumer confidence data stoked worries about the pace of economic growth. The Dow lost 1.6 per cent, while the S&P 500 slumped 2 per cent and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite plunged 2.8 per cent to log its sharpest pullback since May.