Hong Kong stocks fall 2% as Tencent slashes Meituan stake; Japan posts $15 billion trade deficit

This is CNBC's live blog covering Asia-Pacific markets.

Motorcycles for the take-out delivery service of, stop outside a Beijing residential district.
Zhang Peng | LightRocket | Getty Images

Shares in the Asia-Pacific traded mostly lower with the Hang Seng Index falling 2.09% as Chinese technology stocks saw sharp losses after Tencent announced to slash its over $20 billion-stake in Meituan.

In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.52% and the Shenzhen Component also fell 0.69%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.19% to close at 7,135.7 as the nation's unemployment numbers came in better than expected.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 shed 0.35% to end the session 27,930.57 at while the Topix gained 0.15% to close at 1,966.28 as the country reported a trade deficit of $15.5 billion, bigger than forecasted in a Reuters poll. South Korea's Kospi fell 1.14% after a delayed open, and closed its session at 2,448.06.

Economic leaders of the region will gather in Thailand for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. Indonesia's central bank continues its two-day meeting today — economists are expecting the benchmark interest rate to be raised by 50 basis points to 5.25%.

Overnight on Wall Street, U.S. stocks fell as investors weighed a gloomy fourth-quarter outlook cut from Target – triggering sharp losses in its stock price as well as other industry peers.

— CNBC's Tanaya Macheel and Samantha Subin contributed to this report.

War in Ukraine is the ‘single most important negative factor’ for global economy: IMF chief

Russia's war on Ukraine is the "single most important negative factor" for the world economy this year — and most likely for 2023 as well, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva told CNBC on Wednesday. 

Speaking on the sidelines of the Group of 20 meeting in Bali, Indonesia, Georgieva commented on the missile that struck Polish territory late Tuesday, which killed two civilians. 

While she applauded the G-20 members' draft declaration that condemned Russia's aggression against Ukraine, Georgieva said that the focus of the summit has been "very pressing problems" — such as global inflation, rising costs of living, food and energy security.

"I was listening very carefully to all the statements and it's encouraging that these are the issues we are focusing on — as we must," she said.

The IMF previously issued warnings on the fragmentation of the global economy due to the war, and slashed 2023 growth forecasts from an expected 3.2% in 2022 to 2.7%.

Read the full story here.

—Goh Chiew Tong

Oil prices drop more than $1 on renewed China demand worries

Oil prices fell more than 1% with growing concern over China's demand as the nation continued to see an increase of regional Covid cases.

Geopolitical concerns were also eased after NATO clarified details from a missile that struck Poland.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures dropped more than $1, or 1.26%, to trade at $84.59 per barrel. Brent crude futures also shed 0.9% to stand at $92.02 per barrel.

China's National Health Commission reported 23,276 new Covid infections on Wednesday.

—Lee Ying Shan

NetEase plunges after Blizzard announces suspension of China gaming services

Hong Kong-listed shares of NetEase plunged 13% after Blizzard Entertainment, a sub-unit of Activision Blizzard, said it would suspend its China gaming services, citing expiring license agreements with NetEase.

"We're immensely grateful for the passion our Chinese community has shown throughout the nearly 20 years we've been bringing our games to China through NetEase and other partners," Blizzard said in a statement.

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The company said the current license expires on Jan. 23.

– Jihye Lee

Meituan shares drop 6% after Tencent slashes stake

Hong Kong-listed shares of Meituan fell more than 6% in the first hour of trade after Tencent said it would offload 958.1 million shares in the form of a special dividend to shareholders.

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Tencent said the tranche of shares is roughly 90.9% of its stake in the company and 15.5% of total shares Meituan has issued as of Oct. 31. Tencent said the stake was worth about 159 billion Hong Kong dollars (roughly $20.32 billion) as of the Tuesday close.

Shares of Tencent also fell more than 3% in the first hour of Hong Kong trade. The company posted a drop in quarterly revenue after the close on Wednesday.

–Jihye Lee

CNBC Pro: Should investors get back into tech? Here's what the pros say, and how to trade it

It has been a brutal year for tech, as markets flee growth stocks amid rising rates and other headwinds.

The tech industry has also been hit by layoffs. With inflation figures rising less than expected, however, Big Tech stocks rallied last week on investor hopes that a peak could be in sight.

Should investors get back into tech at all, or is it too soon? Here's what Citi and other pros said.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

Australia unemployment rate slightly falls to 3.4%

Australia's unemployment came in at 3.4% in October, slightly lower than 3.5% a month ago, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The nation saw a total increase of 16,800 in its net employment numbers from the previous month, the release said.

The latest numbers follow a 1% increase in wages reported for the latest quarter, seeing the highest growth recorded since the quarter of March 2012, according to a separate ABS release.

– Jihye Lee

Temasek writes down full FTX investment, says it has no direct exposure in crypto

Singapore's sovereign wealth fund Temasek announced it will write down its full investment in FTX after the firm's rapid collapse last week.

The state investor said in a release that "in view of FTX's financial position, we have decided to write down our full investment in FTX, irrespective of the outcome of FTX's bankruptcy protection filing."

Temasek said its cost of investments in FTX was less than 0.1% of its net portfolio value of 403 Singapore dollars ($294 billion) – holding less than 1% in FTX International and less than 1.5% in FTX US.

"There have been misperceptions that our investment in FTX is an investment into cryptocurrencies. To clarify, we currently have no direct exposure in cryptocurrencies," the company said.

– Jihye Lee

Japan reports larger-than-expected trade deficit of $15 billion

Japan reported a larger-than-expected trade deficit of 2.16 trillion yen ($15.5 billion), according to the latest release by its Ministry of Finance. Economists were expecting a deficit of $11 billion, according to a Reuters poll.

Exports rose by 25.3% to 9 trillion yen in October compared to the same period last year, while imports jumped 53.5% to 11.16 trillion yen.

–Jihye Lee

Retail stocks remain under pressure following Target warning, with some bright spots

Several retail stocks were down on Wednesday morning following Target's weak financial results and sales outlook.

Target itself was down 15% shortly after the opening bell. Nordstrom suffered a 9% decline, while Macy's and Gap each fell roughly 7%.

The SPDR S&P Retail ETF was down by 3.9%.

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Lowe's shares were higher, however by 3.8% after the company reported raised its full-year earnings forecast and reported strong results. Walmart held onto a 1% gain after reporting strong results Tuesday. Costco fought its way into positive territory.

— Tanaya Macheel

Treasury yields slide, recession worries rise

The 10-year Treasury yield temporarily sank below 3.7%, and the spread between it and the 2-year yield continued to fall deeper into negative territory.

That so called yield inversion is a warning of recession. The 10-year was 3.73% in afternoon trading, after dipping to 3.69%. The 2-year Treasury was at 4.35%.

"I still think there's more downside risk for rates from here. The curve inversion 2s/10s is negative 67. That could get to negative 75 in the near term," said Ian Lyngen at BMO.

He said a next target for the 10-yea yield would be 3.55%. Yields move lower as bond prices rise.

"A large impetus behind the rally is the market looking past the current tightening cycle and beginning to grow increasingly jittery about the potential for a more significant fallout, as the Fed continues to reiterate its willingeness to hike the economy into recession," said Lyngen.

—Patti Domm

Tencent to report earnings, reportedly starting new round of job cuts

Chinese tech giant Tencent is due to report third-quarter earnings late in Asia.

The company is expected to see another drop in revenue after posting the first-ever revenue decline in the previous quarter ending in June. A median forecast from Refinitiv predicts a fall of 0.47% to 141.7 billion Chinese yuan ($20 billion).

Separately, sources told Reuters that Tencent is starting a new round of job cuts. The news comes as tech firms around the world announce layoffs.

Tencent shares rose as much as 3% in early trade, and were last up 0.83%, compared with a 0.81% fall in the broader Hang Seng index.

— Abigail Ng, Jihye Lee