Nikkei slips, weighed by energy stocks; Korea’s central bank stays pat
Asian stock markets fell Thursday, including a steep retreat in China, after Wall Street logged losses and Federal Reserve meeting minutes suggested more U.S. interest-rate hikes ahead.
Chinese stocks led the region’s decline. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -2.94% was down nearly 3% and the Shenzhen Composite 399106, -2.73% fell 2.7% as both hit fresh four-year lows.
In Chinese trading, oil stocks were among the weakest plays, while tourism and winemakers also underperformed. China International Travel Service 601888, -6.84% , one of the consumer “white horses,” fell another 6.8% after dropping the 10% daily limit during Wednesday’s session as gambling reportedly isn’t coming to Hainan island, as some had hoped. Also, on Wednesday the U.S. Treasury declined to label China a currency manipulator, but said it was concerned about the yuan’s recent weakness.
Japan’s Nikkei NIK, -0.80% was down 0.8%, with energy stocks weak while financials were up amid fresh overnight gains in bond yields. After crude’s CLZ8, -0.89% latest decline Wednesday, oil distributor Idemitsu Kosan 5019, -5.92% was down 5.9% and oil explorer Inpex 1605, -2.33% dropped 2%.
The prospects of still-higher interest rates helped financials. Sony Financial 8729, +2.04% , whose primary business is insurance, was up 2% while major bank Resona 8308, +0.71% gained 0.7%, well off earlier highs. Elsewhere, Japan’s exports fell in September for the first time in almost two years, weighed down over fears of the U.S.-China trade dispute and a global economic slowdown.
After Wednesday’s holiday and strong regional gains, Hong Kong stocks were little changed even amid declines elsewhere in the region. The Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.03% was about flat. The energy sector declined following Wednesday’s crude-price slide. Oil giant CNOOC 0883, -2.01% was down 2% and Sinopec 0386, -4.27% was off 4.3%. But developer New World 0017, +1.01% rose 1%.
South Korea’s Kospi SEU, -0.89% dropped 0.9%, as the Bank of Korea announced it would keep its monetary policy steady. Chip maker SK Hynix 000660, -2.41% was down 2.4%.
Australia’s benchmark XJO, +0.06% was about flat, with energy companies declining. New Zealand’s index NZ50GR, -0.01% slipped, as Air New Zealand AIR, -0.18% fell after the drop in oil prices.
Markets in Taiwan Y9999, -0.25% , Singapore STI, -0.05% and Malaysia FBMKLCI, -0.15% were all down.