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Asian Markets In Negative Territory After Wall Street Plunge

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Asian stock markets are in negative territory on Wednesday following the overnight plunge on Wall Street as a yield curve inversion, or short-term debt yields trading above longer-term debt yields, stoked fears about an upcoming economic slowdown. Mounting skepticism about the trade war truce reached between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping also weighed on the markets.

The Australian market is notably lower following the sharp losses on Wall Street amid fears of an upcoming economic slowdown and lingering worries about U.S.-China trade tensions. Weak Australian GDP data also dampened investor sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 73.80 points or 1.29 percent to 5,639.30, after falling to a low of 5,610.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 74.80 points or 1.29 percent to 5,722.70. Australian stocks succumbed to profit taking on Tuesday after the previous session's sharp jump.

In the banking sector, ANZ Banking, Westpac, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are lower in a range of 1.4 percent to 1.7 percent.

Oil stocks are also weak despite a modest increase in crude oil prices overnight. Santos is down almost 1 percent, Woodside Petroleum declining more than 1 percent and Oil Search is losing more than 2 percent.

Meanwhile, the major miners are mostly higher. Rio Tinto is advancing almost 1 percent and BHP is adding 0.4 percent, while Fortescue Metals is declining almost 1 percent.

Gold miners are mixed even as gold prices rose overnight. Evolution Mining is down 0.3 percent, while Newcrest Mining is adding almost 1 percent.

Shares of rare minerals miner Lynas Corp. are tumbling more than 17 percent after tough new conditions were announced for the company's license to operate in Malaysia.

In economic news, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that Australia's gross domestic product was up a seasonally adjusted 0.3 percent on quarter in the third quarter of 2018. That missed expectations for an increase of 0.6 percent and was down from 0.9 percent in the second quarter.

The latest survey from the Australian Industry Group revealed that the service sector in Australia continued to expand in November, and at a sharply faster rate, with a Performance of Service Index score of 55.1. That's up from 51.1 in October, and it moves further above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7344, down from $0.7370 on Tuesday.

The Japanese market is extending losses from the previous session following the sharp losses on Wall Street amid fears of an upcoming economic slowdown and on lingering worries about trade tensions due to mounting skepticism over the U.S.-China tariff truce. In addition, a stronger yen dragged exporters' stocks lower.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 237.61 points or 1.08 percent to 21,798.44, after touching a low of 21,708.82 earlier. Japanese shares fell on profit taking Tuesday after a strong rally in the previous session.

The major exporters are lower as the safe-haven yen strengthened against the U.S. dollar. Mitsubishi Electric is lower by 2 percent, while Panasonic and Canon are declining more than 1 percent each and Sony is down almost 1 percent.

In the tech sector, Advantest is losing 4 percent and Tokyo Electron is declining almost 2 percent.

Among the major automakers, Honda is lower by almost 3 percent and Toyota is down almost 1 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is declining almost 2 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is losing almost 1 percent.

In the oil space, Inpex is declining 1 percent, while Japan Petroleum is rising 0.3 percent after a modest increase in crude oil prices overnight.

Among the other major gainers, Fast Retailing, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, Nichirei Corp. and Sumitomo Osaka Cement are all higher by more than 1 percent each.

On the flip side, Japan Steel Works is losing more than 5 percent, while Screen Holdings and Dai-ichi Life Holdings are lower by more than 4 percent each.

Shares of Takeda Pharmaceutical are losing more than 1 percent as the company's shareholders are scheduled to vote later today to give approval to its $58.36 billion acquisition of Irish drug maker Shire Plc.

On the economic front, the latest survey from Nikkei showed that the services sector in Japan continued to expand in November, albeit at a fractionally slower pace with a PMI score of 52.3.

That's down from 52.4 in October, although it remains well above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. Also, the composite index eased to 52.4 in November from 52.5 in October.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 112 yen-range on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Taiwan are all lower by more than 1 percent each, while Shanghai, Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia are also declining.

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply lower on Tuesday as the yield on two-year notes rose above the yield on five-year notes, seen as an indicator of an upcoming economic slowdown. Profit taking also contributed to the sell-off following the strong gains posted on Monday in reaction to the trade war truce reached by President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The Dow plunged 799.36 points or 3.1 percent to 25,027.07, the Nasdaq tumbled 283.09 points or 3.8 percent to 7,158.43 and the S&P 500 slumped 90.31 points or 3.2 percent to 2,700.06.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on Tuesday. The German DAX Index slumped by 1.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.8 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.6 percent.

Crude oil prices were modestly higher on Tuesday amid speculation the OPEC members, scheduled to meet in Vienna on December 6, will agree on a production cut. WTI crude for January delivery rose $0.30 or 0.6 percent to close at $53.25 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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