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Asian Shares Plunge After Wall Street Sell-Off


Asian stocks plunged on Thursday, mirroring an overnight sell-off on Wall Street as renewed trade tensions between Washington and Beijing dampened the outlook for economic growth and corporate profits.

Chinese stocks joined a global rout to hit multi-year lows. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index plunged over 6 percent before recouping some loss to end the session down 142.38 points or 5.2 percent at 2,583.46, the worst single-day loss since February of 2016. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled 926.70 points or 3.5 percent to 25,266.37.

Japanese shares hit a one-month low as a profit forecast cut by industrial equipment maker Yaskawa Electric added to investor worries over global growth. The Nikkei 225 Index plummeted 915.18 points or 3.9 percent to 22,590.86, marking its biggest daily decline since March. The broader Topix Index closed 3.5 percent lower at 1,701.86.

Yaskawa Electric fell over 6 percent and Mitsubishi Electric gave up 5.1 percent, while industrial robot maker Fanuc lost 6.8 percent. Chip equipment maker Tokyo Electron slumped 3.9 percent and Advantest dropped 4.5 percent.

Banks Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial plummeted 4-5 percent. Exporters Canon, Panasonic, Honda Motor and Toyota Motor also fell 2-4 percent as the yen strengthened against the dollar on safe-haven demand.

Australian markets fell sharply after the bloodbath on Wall Street overnight. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index tumbled 166 points or 2.7 percent to slip below the 6,000-point mark for the first time since early June. The broader All Ordinaries Index lost 170.30 points or 2.8 percent to end at 5,993.50.

The big four banks fell between 2.6 percent and 3.2 percent while investment bank Macquarie Group plummeted 6 percent and insurer Suncorp declined 2 percent.

Telecom firm Telstra gave up 3.1 percent after its chairman John Mullen defended multi-million dollar executive bonuses.

Mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto plunged 3-4 percent after base metal prices saw a meltdown. In the retail sector, Wesfarmers dropped 3.1 percent and Woolworths retreated 1.1 percent.

Energy stocks Origin Energy, Oil Search, Woodside Petroleum, Santos and Beach Energy plummeted 3-7 percent as oil extended big losses from the previous session.

Meanwhile, gold miner Evolution Mining soared 6.3 percent and Northern Star Resources gained 2 percent after gold prices rose for a second straight session overnight.

Seoul stocks followed global peers lower as trade protectionism created uncertainty in the global economy.

The benchmark Kospi ended down 98.94 points or 4.4 percent at 2,129.67, marking the lowest level since April of last year and the largest single-day loss since September of 2011, when the index lost 5.73 percent.

The local currency hit a one-year low against the U.S. dollar, spurring concerns about capital outflows.

Tech heavyweight Samsung Electronics fell 4.9 percent and lender KB Financial Group lost 4.7 percent.

South Korea had a current account surplus of $8.44 billion in August, the Bank of Korea said, roughly in line with expectations and down from $8.79 billion in July. The goods account showed a $11.24 billion surplus, higher than the surplus of $9.18 billion in August of last year.

New Zealand shares hit a four-month low as investors offloaded growth-oriented stocks amid concerns over rising U.S. interest rates.

The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index tumbled 329.62 points or 3.6 percent to 8,721.20, extending losses for the ninth straight session. A2 Milk shares sank 11.5 percent, Synlait Milk lost 5.9 percent and Pushpay Holdings slumped 5.1 percent.

U.S. stocks tumbled the most in eight months on Wednesday as treasury yields and the yen rose as investors fretted about the impact of the U.S.-China trade war and rising interest rates.

The S&P 500 lost 3.3 percent and the Dow retreated 3.2 percent to log their biggest single-day losses since February, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq slumped 4.1 percent to post its steepest loss since June of 2016.

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