Asian stocks fell Wednesday, tracking a brutal session on Wall Street, but optimism over the trade front after comments from the Chinese government helped stem the losses.
On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
fell nearly 800 points. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to its lowest level in three months, signaling that the bond market is worried about long-term economic growth. The sell-off short-circuited a recent rally on Wall Street.
The market gained Monday after the Trump administration said U.S. and China agreed to a temporary cease-fire in a trade dispute, but confusion emerged over just what was agreed. Last week, stocks jumped when the Federal Reserve’s chairman indicated the central bank could slow the pace of interest rate increases.
Fresh comment on the trade front from China appeared to help keep a lid on selling. A spokesman for China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement Wednesday that it will begin implementing measures agreed with the U.S. “immediately,” acknowledging the 90-day timetable for trade talks referenced by U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index
closed down 1.6%, with tech stocks seeing pressure — Tencent
shedding 2.3% and smartphone-component firms AAC
and Sunny Optical
off 3.7% and 7.3%, respectively. Banks also fell, with HSBC
down 2% and China Construction Bank
off 2.7%. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite
finished off 0.6% while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite
ended with a 0.2% rise.
closed 0.5% lower, with financial stocks faring poorly — insurer Dai-Ichi Life
fell around 3% each. Robotics maker Fanuc
dropped more than 3%.
South Korea’s Kospi
dropped 0.7%, with Samsung
down 1.7%. Benchmarks in Taiwan
fell 1.7% and 0.5%, respectively.
Australia’s S&P ASX 200
dropped around 0.8% after third-quarter GDP data came in below expectations. Banking stocks again took a hit, with Westpac
, Commonwealth Bank
and ANZ Banking Group
all down more than 1%. New Zealand’s benchmark
closed nearly 1% lower.
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