Asia Markets

Asia markets tumble following Wall Street sell-off

Key Points
  • Markets in Asia mostly fell Thursday following a sell-off on Wall Street.
  • In the U.S., major stock indexes sold off and the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 erased their gains for the year while the Nasdaq Composite entered correction territory.

Stocks in Asia mostly tumbled on Thursday following a plunge on Wall Street overnight.

Greater China markets struggled for gains as Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 1.63 percent in afternoon trade. The erased earlier losses of more than 2.5 percent to close fractionally higher at 2,603.8. The Shenzhen composite declined 0.34 percent to close at 1,292.80.

One market watcher said that nothing can stop the "bear run in October."

"The bear runs especially fast in October," Dickie Wong, executive director at Kingston Securities, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Thursday, with "market routs everywhere." He added that the Hang Seng index could "continue to test new low."

Shares of Cathay Pacific were down 3.95 percent after dropping to a nine-year low earlier in the trading day.

The airline said that data of about 9.4 million passengers, including passport numbers and Hong Kong identity card numbers, were accessed without authorization, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, Japan's fell 3.72 percent to close at 21,268.73 while the Topix index was down 3.1 percent to end the trading day at 1,600.92.

In South Korea, the Kospi fell 1.63 percent to close at 2,063.3, with shares of Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix both declining by at least 3 percent each. The benchmark index was down more than 16 percent year-to-date, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon data.

SK Hynix posted record third-quarter operating profit on Thursday, beating expectations due to a seasonal sales boost for mobile devices and strong server demand, Reuters said. Still, the company's shares fell 3 percent, paring some of its earlier losses.

Samsung shares were down 3.64 percent. The declines came after semiconductor stocks saw their worst day in nearly a decade on Wednesday.

Australia's ASX 200 fell 2.83 percent to close at 5,664.1, with most sectors declining. The energy subindex lost 2.65 percent while the heavily weighted financial sector was down 3.02 percent.

Major banking stocks were down, with shares of ANZ falling 2.55 percent, Commonwealth Bank down 2.38 percent, Westpac off by 2.49 percent and the National Australia Bank down 2.5 percent.

Shares of Australia's largest wealth manager AMP plunged 24.47 percent. The decline followed after the company said that it would sell its life insurance arm at a discount, according to Reuters.

Australian mining shares were also down, with Rio Tinto losing 4.52 percent, Fortescue off by 5.7 percent and BHP falling 3.96 percent.

US futures indicate partial rebound Thursday

U.S. futures pointed to a partial rebound following yesterday's market sell-off.

As of 2:51 a.m. ET, Dow futures indicated a gain of 123.58 points at Thursday's open. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also pointed to a higher open in the next session.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 608.01 points at 24,583.42 and erased all of its gains for 2018. The fell by 3.1 percent to close at 2,656.10 and also turned negative for the year. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 4.4 percent to 7,108.40 — entering correction territory.

The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), widely regarded as the best gauge of fear in the market, surged more than 21 percent to 25.23. The index is up more than 100 percent this month.

Experts have pointed to several factors that affected market sentiment in recent weeks. They include some earnings disappointment, a growing conflict over budget spending between Italy and the European Union, international criticism leveled at oil power Saudi Arabia over the killing of a dissident journalist and worries that global growth is losing steam.

Adding to that list of concerns is the continued uncertainty around the U.S.-China trade war, which some investors fear could dent 2019 profits.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.274, declining from an earlier high of 96.377.

The Japanese yen, widely viewed as a safe haven currency, was at 112.07 against the dollar after strengthening from levels above 112.6 in the previous session. The Australian dollar was at $0.7055 after slipping from the 0.71 handle yesterday.

Oil prices fell during Asian hours, with global benchmark Brent down 0.72 percent at $75.62 per barrel while U.S. crude futures slipped 0.64 percent at $66.39 per barrel.

— CNBC's Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that only SK Hynix reported earnings on Thursday.

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