Asian Markets Lower After Wall Street Extends Losses

Asian stock markets are lower on Wednesday following the sharp losses overnight on Wall Street for the third straight session after another strong round of selling in technology stocks.

Worries that a coronavirus vaccine candidate being developed by AstraZeneca in partnership with the University of Oxford could be delayed also weighed on the markets. AstraZeneca has halted its late-stage COVID-19 vaccine trial due to a potentially unexplained illness in a U.K. volunteer, according to reports.

The Australian market is notably lower after two days of gains.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is falling 130.00 points or 2.16 percent to 5,877.80, after falling to a low of 5,866.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is losing 129.70 points or 2.10 percent to 6,060.50. Australian shares rose for the second straight day on Tuesday.

Among oil stocks, Oil Search and Santos are tumbling more than 4 percent each, while Woodside Petroleum is losing more than 3 percent after crude oil prices fell to near three-month lows overnight.

The tech stocks followed their U.S. peers lower. Afterpay is falling more than 5 percent, Appen is tumbling more than 3 percent and WiseTech Global is lower by more than 2 percent.

The big four banks are also notably lower. ANZ Banking, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank are down in a range of 2.3 percent to 2.8 percent.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is losing 2 percent, BHP Group is lower by almost 2 percent and Rio Tinto is declining almost 1 percent.

Meanwhile, gold miners are mixed after safe-haven gold prices rose overnight. Evolution Mining is down more than 1 percent, while Newcrest Mining is adding 0.3 percent.

In economic news, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that the value of owner-occupied home loans in Australia climbed a seasonally adjusted 10.7 percent on month in July, coming in at A$14.33 billion. That follows the 5.5 percent gain in June.

Australia will also see September results for the consumer confidence index from Westpac today.

The Japanese market is losing and the safe-haven yen strengthened following the sharp losses on Wall Street and on worries about potential delays to a coronavirus vaccine.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 362.52 points or 1.56 percent to 22,911.61, after falling to a low of 22,878.71 earlier. Japanese stocks closed higher on Tuesday after two days of losses.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group Corp. is tumbling more than 6 percent and Fast Retailing is declining more than 1 percent.

The major exporters are lower on a stronger safe-haven yen. Sony is losing almost 2 percent and Canon is declining more than 1 percent, while Panasonic and Mitsubishi Electric are down 0.5 percent each.

Among drug makers, Chughai Pharmaceutical and Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma are lower by more than 2 percent each, while Astellas Pharma is declining more than 1 percent and Takeda Pharmaceutical is down 0.5 percent.

In the tech space, Tokyo Electron and Advantest are lower by more than 2 percent each, following the continued selling in U.S. tech stocks overnight. In the financial sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are declining more than 2 percent each.

Among automakers, Honda is also losing more than 2 percent, while Toyota is down almost 2 percent. In the oil sector, Inpex is tumbling more than 4 percent and Japan Petroleum is lower by more than 2 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is rising more than 3 percent and Mitsui OSk Lines is higher by 2 percent.

Conversely, JGC Holdings is losing more than 4 percent, while Dena Co. and Shinsei Bank are lower by almost 4 percent each. Nippon Express and Subaru Corp. are declining more than 3 percent each.

In economic news, Japan will provide August data for machine tool orders today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 105 yen-range on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai, South Korea, New Zealand, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan are all losing more than 1 percent each. Singapore and Indonesia are also lower.

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply lower on Tuesday as traders continued to cash in on recent strength in the markets, with the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 pulling back further off record highs. Technology stocks helped to lead the way lower once again, as Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple all posted steep losses on the day. Substantial weakness was also visible among energy stocks, which moved sharply lower along with the price of crude oil.

The Dow tumbled 632.42 points or 2.3 percent to 27,500.89, the Nasdaq plunged 465.44 points or 4.1 percent to 10,847.69 and the S&P 500 slumped 95.12 points or 2.8 percent to 3,331.84.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on Tuesday. While the French CAC 40 Index plunged by 1.6 percent, the German DAX Index slumped by 1 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.1 percent.

Crude oil futures settled at near three-month lows on Tuesday amid renewed worries about the outlook for energy demand. WTI crude for October delivery plunged $3.01 or about 7.6 percent to $36.76 a barrel.

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