Global sell-off continues into Asia with Japan and Hong Kong plunging

  • Asian shares closed sharply lower on Tuesday, tracking massive losses posted by U.S. stocks.
  • The sell off in U.S. stock markets was a continuation of Friday's weakness as investors rushed for the exits in the wake of rising interest rates.
  • Australia's central bank held interest rates steady.

Asian indexes closed sharply lower and U.S. stock indexes declined on Tuesday following massive losses seen stateside in the last session.

Japan's Nikkei 225 closed down 4.73 percent, or 1,071.84 points, at 21,610.24 as stocks across sectors pulled back. Still, that was off lows touched by the index earlier in the day, when it had seen losses of some 1,600 points. Automakers, financials and technology names were lower on the day, with Toyota down 2.87 percent.

Among other blue chips, SoftBank Group tumbled 4.9 percent and Fanuc Manufacturing lost 4.55 percent. Fast Retailing sank 5.46 percent.

Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi declined 1.54 percent to close at 2,453.31. Blue chip technology names were lower, with Samsung Electronics down 1.04 percent by the end of the day. Rival chipmaker SK Hynix closed flat. Among automakers, Hyundai Motor traded briefly in positive territory, but later slipped 0.94 percent.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
NIKKEI
---
HSI
---
ASX 200
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SHANGHAI
---
KOSPI
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CNBC 100
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Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 declined 3.2 percent to finish the session at 5,833.3 on broad-based selling across sectors. The energy sub-index was among the worst-performing during the session, falling 4.49 percent as energy-related stocks declined following oil prices' move lower. Santos fell 4.44 percent and Oil Search lost 3.26 percent.

The heavily weighted financials sector was also sharply lower, with Australia's "Big Four" banks closing in the red. ANZ was down 2.99 percent and Westpac tumbled 3.13 percent by the end of the day.

The Hang Seng Index was down 4.39 percent by 3:31 p.m. HK/SIN as stocks sold off across sectors. Among financials, heavyweight HSBC fell 2.96 percent and China Construction Bank lost 5.99 percent ahead of the market close. Tech giant Tencent tumbled 6.17 percent by 3:36 p.m. HK/SIN. Energy-related stocks also extended declines on Tuesday, with CNOOC tumbling 5.17 percent.

A man reacts after looking at an electronic stock board outside a securities firm in Tokyo, Japan, on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018.
Noriko Hayashi | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A man reacts after looking at an electronic stock board outside a securities firm in Tokyo, Japan, on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018.

Mainland stocks, which had risen in the last session, followed the region lower on Tuesday. The Shanghai composite slid 3.38 percent to close at 3,369.71 and the Shenzhen composite lost 4.44 percent to end at 1,726.09.

The blue chip CSI 300 index, which tracks large cap names listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen, finished the session lower by 2.94 percent, with telecommunications and energy the worst-performers on the day. China's start-up Chinext index recorded steeper losses to close lower by 5.32 percent.

Other market indexes in the region also took a beating on Tuesday: Taiwan's Taiex lost 4.95 percent, Vietnam's benchmark VN Index fell 4.81 percent and Malaysia's KLCI tumbled 2.22 percent at 3:33 p.m. HK/SIN.

New Zealand markets were closed for a public holiday.

US futures point to slightly lower open

Dow futures were down 210 points, and S&P 500 futures were lower by 8.5 points as of 3:38 p.m. HK/SIN. That was compared to steeper declines seen earlier in the day when the implied open for the Dow, based on the futures, was a decline of more than 1,200 points.

The sell off in U.S. stock markets on Monday was a continuation of Friday's weakness as investors rushed for the exits in the wake of rising interest rates.

The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 1,175.21 points, or 4.6 percent, to close at 24,345.75, breaking below the 25,000 level. The 30-stock index briefly declined more than 1,500 points on Monday and traveled more than 5,100 points during the session.

"There was no specific catalyst outside of stops being triggered at 25,000 and when that happened, the Dow briefly plunged below 24,000, but concerns about the negative impact of rising yields have been the primary driver of the sell-off that began on Friday," Kathy Lien, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management, said in a note.

Correspondingly, U.S. government bond prices rose overnight on safe-haven demand. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note last stood at 2.7489 percent after rising as high as 2.88 percent on Monday.

Meanwhile, on the economic front, Australia's central bank on Tuesday kept interest rates unchanged at 1.5 percent. In a statement, the Reserve Bank of Australia also said it expected a gradual pick-up in inflation in the economy.

In currencies, the dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a basket of rivals, was a touch softer at 89.546. Against the yen, the greenback was mostly steady at 109.05, after falling as low as 108.43 earlier in the session.

The Australian dollar was softer at $0.7861.

On the energy front, oil prices extended losses after declining in the last session on the firmer dollar. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.83 percent to trade at $63.62 per barrel and Brent crude futures lost 0.84 percent to trade at $67.05.

— CNBC's Fred Imbert contributed to this report.