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Asian Shares Succumb To Heavy Selling After Wall Street Rout

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Asian stocks fell heavily across the board on Tuesday after the S&P 500 as well as the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered their biggest percentage drops since 2011 overnight and erased all of their gains for 2018 on concerns about rising inflation and potentially higher interest rates.

Overnight, the Dow plunged nearly 1,600 points to mark its largest single-day decline in the market's history before closing down 1,175 points or 4.6 percent. The S&P 500 plummeted 4.1 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 3.8 percent.

Chinese shares followed regional peers lower on fears that global central banks will tighten policy. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index fell 116.84 points or 3.35 percent to 3,370.65, marking its biggest single-day drop in nearly two years. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down more than 5 percent in late trade.

Japanese shares nosedived as a surging yen following Monday's record plunge on the Dow Jones Industrial Average in New York hit exporters.

The benchmark Nikkei dropped more than 1,600 points before recouping some losses to end the session down 1,071 points or 4.73 percent at 21,610.24, marking its steepest fall since June 2016. The broader Topix index closed 4.40 percent lower at 1,743 amid heavy selling across the board.

Finance Minister Taro Aso declined to comment on plunging share prices, but insisted that corporate performances were not getting worse and the economy was stable and improving.

Australian shares suffered their biggest single-day loss in more than two years, wiping around $66 billion from value. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index tumbled 192.90 points or 3.20 percent to finish at 5,833.30, while the broader All Ordinaries ended down 198.20 points or 3.23 percent at 5,930.20.

Australia's central bank today decided to leave its key interest rate unchanged at a record low, as widely expected, saying the low level of interest rates is continuing to support the Australian economy.

On the data front, official data showed that Australia's foreign trade balance turned to a deficit in December from a surplus in the previous month.

A weekly survey compiled by the ANZ bank and Roy Morgan Research showed that the country's consumer confidence strengthened during the week ended February 4.

The big four banks fell around 3 percent each while miners BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Fortescue and South32 lost 1-3 percent.

Investment bank Macquarie Group plunged 5.3 percent while oil majors such as Santos, Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search and Origin Energy tumbled 3-6 percent.

South Korean shares fell for the third consecutive session to close at a six-week low. The benchmark Kospi dropped 38.44 points or 1.54 percent to 2,453.31, its lowest level since Dec 27.

The New Zealand market was closed for the Waitangi Day holiday. Benchmark indexes in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan were down 2-5 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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