Financial stocks hit hard across region; Hong Kong stocks faring the worst
Shares were moderately lower in Asia on Wednesday following a bloodletting on Wall Street as goodwill generated by a truce between the U.S. and China over trade evaporated in confusion over what the two sides had agreed upon.
On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -3.10% fell nearly 800 points. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to its lowest level in three months, signaling that the bond market is worried about long-term economic growth. The sell-off short-circuited a recent rally on Wall Street. The market gained Monday after the Trump administration said U.S. and China agreed to a temporary cease-fire in a trade dispute. Last week, stocks jumped when the Federal Reserve’s chairman indicated the central bank could slow the pace of interest rate increases.
In Asia, the losses in early Wednesday trading were at least not as bad.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -1.69% fared the worst, down 1.5% by mid-morning. Tech stocks reversed sharply, with Tencent 0700, -2.68% shedding 2% and smartphone-component firms AAC 2018, -3.35% and Sunny Optical 2382, -7.64% tumbling as well. Banks also fell, with HSBC 0005, -2.35% down 2% and China Construction Bank 0939, -1.76% off 1.5%. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.46% was down around 0.5% while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite 399106, -0.30% bounced between slight gains and losses.
Japan’s Nikkei NIK, -0.66% last traded down 0.7%. Financial stocks fared poorly, with insurer Dai-Ichi Life 8750, -3.06% falling 3% and Nomura 8604, -3.24% off about the same. Robotics maker Fanuc 6954, -3.12% dropped more than 3%%.
South Korea’s Kospi SEU, -0.72% slipped 0.6%, with Samsung 005930, -2.14% down 1.6%. Benchmarks in Taiwan Y9999, -1.74% and Singapore STI, -1.03% fell around 1% or more.
Australia’s S&P ASX 200 XJO, -0.72% dropped around 1% after third-quarter GDP data came in below expectations. Banking stocks again took a hit, with Westpac WBC, -1.08% , Commonwealth Bank CBA, -1.03% and ANZ Banking Group ANZ, -0.64% all down more than 1%. New Zealand’s benchmark NZ50GR, -0.95% fell about 1%.