Indexes in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia drop 1% or more
Asian stock markets fell Monday following Friday’s regional bounce that eased last week’s pain, as investors failed to pick up the baton from U.S. stocks that rebounded late last week.
Defensive stocks came under pressure in Japan. Near session lows in the early going, the Nikkei NIK, +1.25% closed down 1.9% to 22,271.30, tumbling 423 points. The financial sector was hit particularly hard, with Mitsubishi UFJ 8306, +1.06% falling 2% and Mizuho Financial 8411, +0.74% down 1.6%. Sharp losses were also felt by Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing 9983, +3.96% and electronics giant Sharp 6753, -0.76% . SoftBank 9984, +3.62% tumbled more than 7% over worries about its close investment ties to the Saudi government in the wake of a journalist’s disappearance. That came as the yen USDJPY, +0.30% was near session highs, with the dollar easing to ¥111.73 from about ¥112.19 late Friday in New York.
The Hong Kong Hang Seng HSI, +0.02% finished down 1.4%, led by tech declines. Tencent 0700, -1.13% dropped 2% and smartphone-component maker AAC Tech 2018, -0.23% fell more than 7%.
Selling picked up throughout the day for markets in mainland China, with the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.85% closing down 1.5% and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite 399106, -1.93% dropped 1.4%.
Tech stocks also weighed in Taiwan’s Taiex Y9999, +0.81% , as Taiwan Semiconductor 2330, +2.82% declined more than 1.4%. South Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.00% fell 0.8%, with index heavyweight SK Hynix 000660, -0.85% sinking 2.9%.
Australia’s ASX 200 XJO, +0.56% closed off around 1%, with financials and materials dragging down the market. Commonwealth Bank of Australia CBA, -2.09% , Australia and New Zealand Banking Group ANZ, -1.85% and Westpac Banking WBC, -1.59% all fell more than 1%, while mining giant BHP Billiton BHP, -1.48% fell around 1.5%. New Zealand’s benchmark NZ50GR, -0.39% closed flat after its worst week in 8½ years.