Asian Shares Retreat On Growth Concerns

asianmarket 021219 09sep21 lt

Asian stocks fell broadly Thursday on growth worries as the Federal Reserve's Beige Book showed a "downshift" in the U.S. economy last month and the Japanese government said it plans to extend Covid-19 emergency restrictions in Tokyo and other regions.

Chinese shares advanced after data showed consumer prices in the country rose 0.8 percent year-on-year in August, shy of expectations for an increase of 1.0 percent, which would have been unchanged from the previous month.

On a monthly basis, inflation rose just 0.1 percent - again short of forecasts for an increase of 0.5 percent and slowing from 0.3 percent in July.

Another report showed that producer prices jumped an annual 9.5 percent, exceeding expectations for an increase of 9.0 percent, which would have been unchanged from the month earlier.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 17.94 points, or 0.5 percent, to 3,693.13. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index plummeted 604.93 points, or 2.3 percent, to 25,716, with tech stocks taking another hit after Chinese authorities summoned top gaming firms for talks.

Japanese shares ended lower to snap an eight-day winning streak - the longest since early November - after the government said it would extend its COVID-19 state of emergency in Tokyo and 18 other prefectures until the end of this month.

The Nikkei 225 Index retreated from a nearly six-month high to end down 173.02 points, or 0.6 percent, at 30,008.19. The broader Topix closed 0.7 percent lower at 2,064.93 after reaching a three-decade closing high of 2,079.61 on Wednesday.

Heavyweight SoftBank Group gave up 1.9 percent on profit taking after surging the precious day on news of a $7 billion share-swap deal with Deutsche Telekom. Japan Airlines declined 1.6 percent on fund raising reports. Rival ANA Holdings lost 1.8 percent.

Australian markets tumbled amid mounting worries around growth and inflation. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 142.50 points, or 1.9 percent, to 7,369.50 as daily infections lingered near record levels in New South Wales. The broader All Ordinaries Index dropped 148.60 points, or 1.9 percent, to finish at 7,658.90.

Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto fell 1.7 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively, while gold miners Newcrest, Northern Star Resources and Evolution lost 1-2 percent.

Tech stocks fell broadly, with heavyweight Afterpay losing 3.1 percent. Epsilon Healthcare soared 10 percent after the cannabis producer inked a five-year partnership with Canadian biotech Valen.

Seoul stocks plunged amid virus concerns and uncertainties from the expiration of options and futures. The benchmark Kospi ended down 48.29 points, or 1.5 percent, at 3,114.70 as daily coronavirus cases remained in the 2,000s in the country for the second straight day despite tighter curbs on public life.

Health authorities warned new infections may further increase ahead of the Chuseok holiday, which runs from Sept. 18-22 this year.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics declined 1.3 percent, No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix fell 2.8 percent and internet portal operator Naver lost 2.6 percent.

Kakao shares slumped 7.2 percent in the wake of the ruling Democratic Party lawmakers' criticism over the market dominance of giant platform businesses.

New Zealand shares fell notably, with the benchmark NZX 50 Index ending down 97.24 points, or 0.7 percent, at 13,095.77, a day after a number of banks in the country were hit by a cyberattack.

U.S. stocks ended lower overnight as investors pondered over economic risks, including the worldwide spread of the coronavirus and a reduction in central bank stimulus.

U.S. businesses are experiencing escalating inflation that is being aggravated by a shortage of goods, the Fed's Beige Book said.

The Dow dipped 0.2 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 0.6 percent and the S&P 500 slipped 0.1 percent.

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