Asian shares slide after tech drags on Wall Street

  • Asian stocks posted declines after U.S. stock indexes closed lower as tech names weighed on the broader markets.
  • Tech stocks in South Korea and Hong Kong fell amid the broader decline in the market.
  • The Trump administration was considering using an existing law to limit Chinese investment in technologies regarded as sensitive, according to Bloomberg News.
  • The dollar extended broad gains made overnight.

Asian stocks closed lower on Wednesday trade after U.S. stocks fell sharply on the back of declines in technology names. That cut short a rally seen in Europe and Asia's Tuesday session linked to an apparent easing in trade-related tensions.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 fell 1.34 percent, or 286.01 points, to close at 21,031.31, paring steeper losses of more than 2 percent seen earlier. The broader Topix was down 1.02 percent, with all but three of its 33 subindexes ending in negative territory. The mining and oil and coal sectors were particularly downbeat.

Technology stocks also contributed to the broader decline, with Tokyo Electron sinking 4.44 percent on the back of U.S. tech losses overnight.

Over in Seoul, the benchmark Kospi slid 1.34 percent to finish at 2,419.29 as technology stocks followed the lead from U.S. tech. Samsung Electronics fell 2.56 percent and SK Hynix lost 1.35 percent.

Automakers and manufacturing stocks bucked the broader fall to put in a mixed performance, with Kia Motors rising 3.94 percent.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
NIKKEI
---
HSI
---
ASX 200
---
SHANGHAI
---
KOSPI
---
CNBC 100
---

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 1.7 percent by 3:05 p.m. HK/SIN, with the tech sector the biggest loser. Shares of index heavyweight Tencent fell 3.84 percent and AAC Technologies lost 5.93 percent ahead of the market close.

On the mainland, the Shanghai composite declined 1.4 percent to end at 3,122.22, with the index closing lower once more after breaking a four-day losing streak in the last session. The Shenzhen composite edged down by 0.95 percent to end at 1,812.36.

The blue chip CSI 300 index sank 1.8 percent, with consumer non-cyclicals and energy among the worst-performing sectors.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 edged down 0.73 percent to end at 5,789.50 as all but two of its subindexes traded lower. Among sectors, consumer discretionary, materials and gold producers recorded declines of more than 1 percent, while the heavily weighted financials subindex eased 0.8 percent.

US tech sags overnight

Losses in the region came after all three major U.S. indexes closed lower, despite notching gains earlier in the session, as technology stocks weighed on the broader markets. The drop in large cap tech names saw the Nasdaq composite fall 2.93 percent.

Facebook shares tumbled after Bank of America Merrill Lynch cut its price target on the stock for the second time in five days. Other tech favorites, including Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet, also fell sharply.

Apart from tech sector troubles, trade-related issues returned to the spotlight as investors focused on a Bloomberg News report that the Trump administration was considering using an existing emergency law to limit Chinese investment in technologies regarded as sensitive.

While the report wasn't exactly "new news," given the Trump administration's recent move to block a proposed Broadcom-Qualcomm deal on national security concerns, it was "enough for investors to become defensive again," David de Garis, director of economics at National Australia Bank, said in a morning note.

Still, the overnight declines were not indicative of the broader economy, Colin Graham, CIO of multi-asset solutions at Eastspring Investments said.

"I think that the tech stocks had become detached from what's going on in the real economy ... But, for us, the underlying economy is still fine. We've seen some weakness in some of the survey data, but they're coming from very high levels," Graham told CNBC's "Capital Connection."

Stocks in Asia and Europe had bounced in the last session after U.S. and Chinese officials made conciliatory comments on Monday that suggested there could be some positive developments on trade.

In individual stocks, shares of Hong Kong-listed BYD Company sank 10.96 percent by 3:06 p.m. HK/SIN after the company reported Tuesday that its full-year profit declined 19.5 percent. It also said first-quarter net profit was expected to be pressured after a reduction in new energy vehicle subsidies.

Meanwhile, SoftBank Group and Saudi Arabia announced on Wednesday they were developing the world's largest solar power generation project, which is expected to cost $200 billion through 2030. Shares of SoftBank closed down 4.01 percent.

In currencies, the dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, extended overnight gains to trade at 89.431 at 2:42 p.m. HK/SIN. The index had touched a five-week low in the overnight session.

Against the yen, the dollar firmed to trade at 105.65.

On the commodities front, oil prices extended losses after edging lower overnight. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures slipped 0.93 percent to trade at $64.64 per barrel and Brent crude futures declined 0.83 percent to trade at $69.53.