Asia markets mixed following turbulent day

  • Asia stocks were mixed after seesawing between positive and negative territory.
  • Energy stocks sold off in the region as oil prices gyrated between gains and losses, following sharp declines overnight.
  • Stocks fell on Wall Street as some corporate results disappointed investors.

Asia markets ended mixed on Wednesday, following a turbulent trading session where stocks seesawed between gains and losses.

The mainland Chinese indexes finished mixed, as the Shanghai composite gained 0.33 percent to close at 2,603.30 while the Shenzhen composite fell 0.23 percent at about 1,297.22 after a day of volatile trading.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index slipped 0.38 percent to close at 25,249.78.

Japan's Nikkei 225 recovered from earlier losses to close 0.37 percent higher at 22,091.18. The Topix also saw slight gains by the end of the trading day to finish at 1,652.07 after earlier touching lows not seen since Sept. 2017.

Shares of automaker Subaru fell 7.02 percent after the company slashed its operating income estimate for the first half of the fiscal year ending Mar. 31, 2019.

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

Over in South Korea, the Kospi slipped 0.4 percent to close at 2,097.58. Major heavyweights like Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix declined. Samsung shares fell 1.16 percent while SK Hynix declined 3.47 percent after dropping more than 4 percent earlier.

Shares of steelmaker Posco rose 1.92 percent after posting its highest quarterly profit since 2011 on the back of higher steel prices.

Speaking with CNBC's "Street Signs" on Wednesday, Daniel Yoo, head of global strategy at Kiwoom Securities, said that South Korea is currently the "cheapest market in the world."

Yet, Yoo said, the question remains whether "there will be any momentum for the stock market," with investors concerned about issues ranging from the country's heavy reliance on the information technology sector to corporate governance.

In Australia, the ASX 200 struggled for gains, closing lower by 0.24 percent at 5,829 as the heavily-weighted financial sector rose 0.14 percent. The energy subindex was down 2.07 percent as oil stocks sold off.

Shares of Santos fell 2.45 percent, Oil Search declined 1.97 percent and Woodside Petroleum was lower by 1.29 percent.

Oil prices gyrated between gains and losses during Asian hours, following sharp declines overnight. Global benchmark Brent fell 0.12 percent to $76.35 per barrel while the U.S. crude futures contract was fractionally lower at $66.41 per barrel.

Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that it would continue to meet demand for crude despite the looming U.S. sanctions that are expected to reduce oil exports from Iran, according to Reuters.

Energy names in Japan also fell, with Inpex shares down 3.3 percent and Japan Petroleum off by 1.86 percent.

Tariffs creep into US earnings

U.S. stocks finished lower overnight following a wild day on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was at one point 500 points lower, but closed the session down by 125.98 points at 25,191.43 while the S&P 500 stood 0.55 percent lower at 2,740.69 at the final bell. The Nasdaq Composite shed 0.4 percent to finish at 7,437.54.

The losses stateside came on the back of Caterpillar reporting that higher steel prices and tariffs resulted in increased material costs for the company.

The U.S. and China have implemented tariffs on billions of dollars worth of their goods this year, increasing costs for companies and raising fears that tighter global trade conditions could slow down the global economy.

Negotiations between the two countries have stalled recently, though National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday that the presidents of the two economic powerhouses will "meet for a bit" at next month's G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, was at 96.143 in the afternoon, climbing from an earlier low of 95.909.

The Japanese yen was at 112.52 against the greenback while the Australian dollar was at $0.7089.

— CNBC's Fred Imbert and Reuters contributed to this report.