Markets in Hong Kong and Taiwan fall more than 2% as Asian tech stocks slide

SINGAPORE — Shares in the Asia-Pacific region were lower on Thursday as tech stocks sold off after overnight losses on Wall Street — after data showed the U.S. consumer price index stayed near its highest level in more than 40 years in April.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Tech Index was down 3.84% to 3,864.95. Alibaba’s shares fell 6.6%, while Meituan lost 2.73%. also saw its Hong Kong-listed shares plunge 7.78%.

Technology stocks in Taiwan were also down, with shares in Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company slipping 3.07% while Pegatron fell 1.17%.

Shares in Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group plunged 8.03%. Over in South Korea, cocoa stocks are down 5.5% while Krafton is down 1.95%.

In broader markets, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 2.24% to close at 19,380.34, while Taiwan’s Taiex was down 2.43% on the day to 15,616.68.

Mainland China shares pared earlier gains, with the Shanghai Composite finishing 0.12% lower at 3,054.99 and the Shenzhen Component falling 0.132% to 11,094.87.

“We’re not very… bearish on Chinese equities right now,” Selina Sia, head of Greater China equity research at Credit Suisse Wealth Management, told CNBC’s Street Signs Asia on Thursday.

“We’ve seen cases already peaking in Shanghai and hopefully omicron can be brought under control sooner rather than later, but we’re seeing positive signs there,” Sia said. “Additionally, following the Politburo meeting in late April, policymakers made statements to support infrastructure investment, platform economies and also the real estate market.”

The Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 1.77% to close at 25,748.72, while the Topix index fell 1.19% to 1,829.18.

In South Korea, the Kospi closed 1.63% lower at 2,550.08. Australian equities were also down as the S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.75% to end the day at 6,941.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside of Japan was down 2.48%.

“We believe that in equities, Europe and the US face more headwinds from central bank tightening and growth than Japan and Asia,” said Gareth Nicholson, Nomura’s chief investment officer for international wealth management. “Asia is supported by China, Japan has a very dovish central bank.”

“Also, we believe that valuation-wise there is more upside in stocks in this part of the world than the other side,” Nicholson told CNBC’s Squawk Box Asia on Thursday.

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The US CPI rose 8.3% year on year in April – near the highest level in more than 40 years, official data showed on Wednesday. The April reading, which represented a slight decline from the March peak, was also up 8.1%, beating the Dow Jones estimate.

Wall Street stocks fell after the release of US consumer inflation data. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lagged, falling 3.18% to 11,364.24, while the broader S&P 500 lost 1.65% to 3,935.18. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 326.63 points, or 1.02%, to 31,834.11.

Bitcoin falls below $28,000

Bitcoin’s price briefly fell below $27,000 for the first time since December 2020, continuing a recent sell-off in the cryptocurrency space amid broader risk appetite among investors. It later recovered from some of those losses to trade at $27,851.44 as of 4:15 a.m. ET Thursday, according to data from Coin Metrics.

The US Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, came in at 104.313 as it continues to hold above the 103.8 level it fell below at certain points earlier this week.

The Japanese yen traded at 128.59 per dollar, stronger from levels above 130.5 recorded against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.6881 after falling from levels above $0.70 recently.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of the Asian session, with international benchmark Brent crude futures falling 1.74% to $105.64 a barrel. US crude oil futures fell 2.02% to $103.57 a barrel.

— CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed to this report. Markets in Hong Kong and Taiwan fall more than 2% as Asian tech stocks slide

Chrissy Callahan

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