Asian Stocks Mixed as U.S Bond Yeild Continue to Rise
Asia-Pacific markets mostly fell Friday as investor sentiment turned cautious, following an overnight selloff stateside.
Australian shares traded lower, with the benchmark ASX 200 closed down 0.56% at 6,708.20 — the index retraced some of its earlier losses of more than 1%. The energy and materials sectors declined 2.03% and 1.41%, respectively, while the heavily-weighted financials subindex finished down 0.31%.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan declined 1.41% to 29,792.05 while the Topix index reversed losses to close up 0.18% to 2,012.21.
Japan’s central bank concluded its two-day monetary policy meeting. It announced a raft of measures that included a decision to widen the range at which the 10-year Japanese government bond yield is allowed to fluctuate from the target level to between plus and minus 0.25%.
South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.86% to 3,039.53 while the Kosdaq turned around losses to gain 0.24% to 952.11. Tech names sold off as shares of Samsung Electronics fell 1.21%, SK Hynix declined 2.82% and LG Electronics lost 1.61%.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 1.76% in late-afternoon trade while Taiwan’s Taiex was declined 1.34% to 16,070.24.
Chinese mainland shares also declined: The Shanghai composite closed down 1.69% at 3,404.66 and the Shenzhen component lost 2.56% to 13,606.
The stock market on Wall Street struggled overnight, where tech shares were hit hard while the Dow and S&P 500 also declined. That weakness in shares was mirrored by growing concerns of COVID-19.
However, the banking and financial stocks in the region saw some gains.
In Australia, ANZ and Westpac eked out gains of 0.32% and 0.33%, respectively. Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rose 1.92%, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group was up 1.95%, Mizuho Financial added 1.39% and Nomura was up 1.28%.
Singapore’s DBS Group rose 0.63% and OCBC added 0.26% in afternoon trade.
“For the moment the impact of the higher yields is mostly evident in the comparative performances of the equity markets,” Geoff Howie, markets strategist at the SGX.
Asian Markets Currencies and oil
In the currency market, the dollar traded down 0.13% at 91.738 against a basket of its peers. Overnight, the greenback erased most of its losses seen after the Fed decided not to raise interest rates in 2021 on Wednesday.
The Japanese yen changed hands at 108.74 per dollar, strengthening from an earlier level around 109.12. The Australian dollar rose 0.12% to $0.7765.
Oil prices edged lower on Friday during Asian trading hours, following a sharp drop in the previous session.
U.S. crude rose 0.45% to $60.27 a barrel while global benchmark Brent added 0.41% to $63.54.
Overnight, prices tumbled close to 7% or more for both U.S. crude futures and Brent.
“Crude oil prices collapsed as concerns over weaker demand in the short term deepened,” the ANZ analysts wrote.