Asia markets mostly fall as tech stocks in the region decline

SINGAPORE – Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were largely down on Wednesday as technology stocks in the region came under pressure amid rising US bond yields.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Tencent fell 3.47% in the afternoon. The Chinese tech giant said on Tuesday it would sell 2.6% of its stake in Sea Limited.

Shares of other Chinese tech companies listed in the city were also down, with Meituan down 9.43% while Kuaishou plunged 6.23%. The Hang Seng Tech index fell 3.54%.

Elsewhere in the region, South Korea’s Samsung Electronics fell 2.54% while Kakao fell 4.93%. In Australia, shares of Afterpay fell more than 4%.

The moves came as investors watched interest rates in the bond market, with U.S. Treasury yields rising at the fastest New Year’s pace in two decades. The benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield hit 1.71% on Tuesday, most recently standing at 1.6455%.

Tech stocks, whose future earnings are less attractive to investors when yields are higher, tend to be affected when rates rise.

In other corporate developments, China Mobile’s Hong Kong-listed shares jumped 5.52%. The company debuted in Shanghai on Wednesday as part of the largest public offering of shares in China in a decade, according to Reuters. Mainland listed China Mobile shares rose 3.803% for the last time.

Meanwhile, shares of China Huarong Asset Management plunged more than 50% after trading resumed after a nine-month suspension.

Wider Asia-Pacific Movements

In the broader Asia-Pacific markets, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 0.85%. The Shanghai composite in mainland China fell 0.81% while the Shenzhen component fell 1.573%.

In South Korea, the Kospi fell 1.52%. The S & P / ASX 200 in Australia lost 0.23%.

Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan traded above the flat line while the Topix index climbed 0.29%.

The largest MSCI index of Asia-Pacific equities ex-Japan fell 0.87%.

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Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 214.59 points to 36,799.65. Other major indexes in the United States fell amid surging bond yields as investors turned away from tech stocks. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite fell 1.33% to 15,622.72 while the S&P 500 edged down to 4,793.54.

Currencies and oil

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, stood at 96.242 – still holding on to its gains after rising below 96 earlier in the week.

The Japanese yen was trading at 115.96 per dollar, having weakened yesterday after levels below 115.5 against the greenback. The Australian dollar was at $ 0.7232, after its recent rebound from levels below $ 0.72.

Oil prices edged down in the afternoon of trading hours in Asia, with international benchmark Brent crude futures plunging 0.16% to $ 79.87 a barrel. US crude futures fell 0.18% to $ 76.85 a barrel.

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