Asian Pacific Stocks Edge Lower, Japan’s Nikkei 225 falls more than 2%

Asia-Pacific stocks largely fell in Wednesday trade following an overnight tumble on Wall Street, with the Nasdaq plunging nearly 3% as bond yields rise.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slipped 2.12% to close at 29,544.29 while the Topix index dropped 2.09% to finish the trading day at 2,038.29.

asian markets chart
Nikkei 225 Index Performance Chart

Mainland Chinese stocks also saw sizable losses on the day as the Shanghai composite shed 1.83% to 3,536.29 and the Shenzhen component fell 1.64% to 14,079.02.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index bucked the overall regionally trend, closing 0.67% higher at 24,663.50. Hong Kong-listed shares of China Evergrande Group surged 14.98% after the developer announced it will sell a $1.5 billion stake in Shengjing Bank to a state-owned asset management firm.

South Korea’s Kospi declined 1.22% to close at 3,060.27. The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia fell 1.08%, ending the trading day at 7,196.70.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan shed 0.73%.

Investors watched the 10-year Treasury yield, which crossed the 1.5% mark on Monday and was last sitting at 1.508%. Yields move inversely to prices.

The rising yields hit tech stocks overnight on Wall Street, with the Nasdaq Composite falling 2.83% to 14,546.68 for its worst day since March. Tech stocks are hit in an environment of rising yields as the rise in rates makes their future cash flows less valuable, and in turn, makes the popular stocks appear overvalued.

Tech stocks in Asia slipped on Wednesday, with shares of Japanese conglomerate Softbank Group falling 1.46% and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics dropping 2.88%.

Chinese tech shares in Hong Kong also declined, with Tencent shedding 1.02% and Alibaba slipping 1.72%. The Hang Seng Tech index fell 0.84% to 6,179.43.

Asian Markets Oil and Currencies

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.87% to $78.40 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 0.93% to $74.59 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.804 following its recent climb from below 93.6.

The Japanese yen traded at 111.21 per dollar, stronger than an earlier low of 111.68 seen against the greenback. The Australian dollar was at $0.725 after yesterday drop from above $0.729.

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