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Asian Markets Tumble After Wall Street Sell-off


Asian stock markets are down with sharp losses on Thursday following the overnight sell on Wall Street amid worries about rising interest rates and reflecting weakness in technology stocks due to worries about growing U.S.-China tensions.

Following the worst market sell-off on Wall Street since February, U.S. President Donald Trump again criticized the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates. "I think the Fed is making a mistake... I think the Fed has gone crazy," Trump told reporters on Wednesday.

The Australian market is sharply lower, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index slipping below the 6,000-point mark for the first time since early June.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 105.70 points or 1.75 percent to 5,944.10, off a low of 5,912.20 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 111.90 points or 1.82 percent to 6,051.90. Australian shares closed slightly higher on Wednesday.

The big four banks - ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac - are lower in a range of 1.2 percent to 1.8 percent.

Among the big miners, BHP is losing almost 3 percent and Rio Tinto is down more than 2 percent, while Fortescue Metals is up almost 1 percent.

Oil stocks are also weak after crude oil prices fell more than 2 percent overnight. Santos is falling more than 4 percent, Oil Search is losing more than 3 percent and Woodside Petroleum is declining more than 2 percent.

Among gold miners, Evolution Mining is gaining 4 percent and Newcrest Mining is adding almost 1 percent after gold prices rose for a second straight session overnight.

Tesltra has apologized to its shareholders for a lack of clarity about calculation of executive bonuses and admitted that some investors feel they are too high despite a 30 percent cut in the bonus. Shares of the telecommunications giant are declining more than 1 percent.

Wesfarmers has appointed Sarah Hunter, who is now overseeing the spin-off of supermarket Coles, as the new managing director for its office supplies business, Officeworks. Shares of Wesfarmers are lower by almost 2 percent.

On the economic front, Australia will see October's inflation forecast today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Thursday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7065, up from $0.7013 on Wednesday.

The Japanese market is plunging, with stocks losing across the board, following the overnight sell-off on Wall Street and as the safe-haven yen strengthened against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is falling 816.84 points or 3.48 percent to 22,689.20, after touching a low of 22,658.14 in early trades. Japanese shares ended a choppy session slightly higher on Wednesday.

Tech stocks are tumbling, tracking the overnight weakness in their U.S. counterparts amid rising U.S.-China tensions. Advantest and Tokyo Electron are falling almost 5 percent each.

The major exporters are sharply lower on a stronger yen. Mitsubishi Electric and Sony are losing almost 5 percent each, Panasonic is down 4 percent and Canon is declining more than 2 percent.

Among auto makers, Toyota is declining more than 2 percent and Honda is losing more than 3 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is falling more than 3 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is losing almost 4 percent.

In the oil space, Japan Petroleum is falling almost 5 percent and Inpex is tumbling more than 4 percent after crude oil prices fell more than 2 overnight.

Among the other major losers, Nippon Sheet Glass is falling more than 8 percent, Taiyo Yuden is losing almost 8 percent and SoftBank is lower by almost 7 percent.

In economic news, the Bank of Japan said that producer prices in Japan were up 0.3 percent on month in September, following the flat reading in August. On a yearly basis, producer prices were up 3.0 percent - unchanged from the previous two months.

The Bank of Japan also said that overall bank lending in Japan was up 2.3 percent on year in September, coming in at 528.660 trillion yen. That exceeded expectations for an increase of 2.2 percent, which would have been unchanged from the previous month.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwan is losing almost 6 percent, while Shanghai, South Korea and Hong Kong are down more than 3 percent each. New Zealand is falling 3 percent, while Singapore and Malaysia are declining more than 2 percent each, and Indonesia is down almost 2 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks tumbled on Wednesday amid lingering concerns about the outlook for interest rates following a recent increase in treasury yields and due to trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Technology stocks helped to lead the way lower on Wall Street, with Netflix, Amazon, Apple and Facebook all posting significant losses.

The Dow plunged 831.83 points or 3.2 percent to 25,598.74, the Nasdaq plummeted 315.97 points or 4.1 percent to 7,422.05 and the S&P 500 tumbled 94.66 points or 3.3 percent to 2,785.68.

The major European markets also showed substantial moves to the downside on Wednesday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slumped by 1.3 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index plummeted by 2.1 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Wednesday, amid prospects of a drop in crude demand due to weak global economic growth outlook. WTI crude for November delivery tumbled $1.79 or 2.4 percent to $73.17 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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