SINGAPORE — South Korean stocks fell on Thursday as tensions on the Korean Peninsula reignited.
The Kospi in South Korea dropped 2.59% to close at 2,272.70 while the Kosdaq index plunged 4.33% to end its trading day at 806.95.
The moves came following reports that South Korea's defense ministry said North Korea had killed a missing official from the South earlier this week. It marked the first time since July 2008 that a South Korean civilian has been shot dead in North Korea, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.
Shares of South Korean defense firm Victek soared 25.13% following the announcement, while North Korea exposed stocks Hanil Hyundai Cement and Hyundai Elevator slipped 2.76% and 1.12%, respectively.
Elsewhere, other Asia-Pacific markets also saw losses, following an overnight drop on Wall Street.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 1.82% to close at 23,311.07. Mainland Chinese stocks slipped on the day, with the Shanghai composite down 1.72% to approximately 3,223.18 while the Shenzhen component declined 2.238% to about 12,816.61.
Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.81% on the day to 5,875.90.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index fell 1.93%.
Technology stocks in Asia took a hit on Thursday, following losses seen by their counterparts stateside.
In Japan, conglomerate Softbank Group saw its stock drop 4.52%. Kakao in South Korea also fell 3.69%. In Hong Kong, shares of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi slipped 4.84% while Tencent declined 1.75%, with the Hang Seng Tech index falling 3.35% on the day to 7,054.28. Meanwhile, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company shares in Taiwan shed 2.42%.
The tech heavy Nasdaq Composite has fallen 9.7% so far this month as investors rotate out of the sector. Big Tech stocks like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Alphabet and Microsoft are all down at least 11% in September.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 525.05 points, or 1.9%, to close at 26,763.13. The S&P 500 slipped 2.4% to finish its trading day at 3,236.92 while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3% to close at 10,632.99.
In coronavirus developments, Johnson & Johnson said Wednesday it has begun its phase three trial testing its potential coronavirus vaccine. The firm is the fourth drugmaker backed by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration's Covid-19 vaccine program, Operation Warp Speed, to enter late-stage testing.
Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.79% to $41.44 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also slipped 0.75% to $39.63 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, sat at 94.425 following its rise from levels below 93 this week.
— CNBC's Berkeley Lovelace Jr. contributed to this report.