Asia shares lose ground as Wall Street sags, China declines
HONG KONG–Asian stocks lost ground Wednesday as China’s market declined and US markets fell on worries about surging oil prices.
Sydney tumbled 134.3 points, or 2.3 percent, to close at 5,692.2 after heavyweights Commonwealth Bank and Woolworths slumped on disappointing earnings updates.
South Korean shares lost 1.3 percent, or 27.65 points, to end at 2,104.58, and Hong Kong ended down 114.63 points or 0.41 percent at 27,640.91.
Tokyo was closed for a holiday.
Shanghai fell 1.62 percent, or 69.44 points, to close at 4,229.27, after plunging more than four percent the previous session.
“Shanghai continued to fall today because the market correction is not over yet,” Zheshang Securities analyst Zhang Yanbing told AFP.
On Wall Street the Dow Jones Industrial Average Tuesday dropped 142.20 points, or 0.79 percent, to 17,928.20, weighed down by a rise in US oil prices above $60 a barrel.
“Markets are a little tired,” Wayne Wilbanks, chief investment officer at US-based Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management told Bloomberg Television.
“Investors are starting to wake up to the reality that there’s not a whole lot of growth currently in the market. China is slowing down. What we have there is huge monetary stimulus which is causing this stock market semi-bubble,” he said.
Analysts also cited a sharp rise in the US trade deficit in March and the growing rift between Greece and its creditors over the terms of a bailout.
European stocks fell sharply Tuesday, with Germany’s DAX 30 dropping 2.5 percent and France’s CAC 40 losing 2.2 percent.
Oil prices extended gains in Asia to trade at 2015 highs as fresh tensions in oil producer Libya raised concerns about a supply disruption in the crude-rich Middle East.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for June delivery gained 87 cents to $61.27, while Brent crude for June rose 63 cents to $68.15 in afternoon trade.
In currency markets, the US dollar softened against the euro following weak US trade data that raised questions about whether a planned interest rate rise by the Federal Reserve could be pushed back.
The euro bought $1.1232 in Singapore afternoon trade, up from $1.1185 in New York late Tuesday.
The dollar was changing hands at 119.90 yen from 119.87 and the euro was at 134.57 yen from 134.08.
Trading, however, was subdued with Japanese financial markets closed for a public holiday.
Gold fetched 1,189.70 against 1,188.70 late Tuesday.
In other markets:
— Taipei edged down 1.93 points, or 0.02 percent to 9,818.2
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. closed 0.34 percent higher at Tw$147.5 while Fubon Financial Holding shed 1.78 percent to Tw$66.3.
— Wellington fell 22.52 points, or 0.39 percent, to 5,765.27.
Market heavyweight Fletcher Building slipped 0.95 percent to NZ$8.30 and Spark was down 0.34 percent at NZ$2.96.
— Kuala Lumpur slipped 6.45 points, or 0.35 percent, to close at 1,820.97.
Public Bank lost 0.51 percent to 19.36 ringgit and Maybank eased 0.43 percent to 9.21 while Genting Bhd added 0.89 percent to 9.08 ringgit.
— Singapore closed down 0.33 percent, or 11.40 points, at 3,459.79.
Commodity traders Noble Group declined 3.37 percent to Sg$0.86 while DBS Bank climbed 0.73 percent to Sg$20.85.
— Jakarta ended up 0.48 percent, or 24.64 points, at 5,184.95.
Construction firm Wijaya Karya gained 2.77 percent to 2,970 rupiah, while telecoms infrastructure company Tower Bersama Infrastructure slipped 1.99 percent to 8,600 rupiah.
— Bangkok lost 0.45 percent, or 6.86 points, to 1,519.88.
Bumrungrad Hospital gained 4.67 percent to 168 baht, while Kasikorn Bank lost 4.29 percent to 201 baht.
— Mumbai dropped 2.6 percent or 722.77 points to 26,717.37, the lowest close since December 17.
— Manila lost 45.57 points, or 0.58 percent, to close at 7,873.64.