Asian Stocks Retreat As Tech Shares Drag

Asian stocks retreated on Thursday after Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, missed on Wall Street earnings estimates and offered a weaker-than-expected forecast. Chinese and Hong Kong markets remained closed for the Lunar New Year.

Shares of Meta dropped by more than 20 percent in after-hours trading on Wednesday, knocking almost US$200 billion off its valuation.

Investors also awaited U.S. January employment data, due out Friday, for direction after the ADP jobs data surprised to the downside.

Japanese shares snapped a four-day rally as technology stocks retreated amid a steep drop by the Nasdaq futures. The Nikkei 225 Index slid 292.29 points, or 1.1 percent, to 27,241.31, while the broader Topix closed 0.9 percent lower at 1,919.92.

Tokyo Electron, Screen Holdings and Advantest gave up 2-4 percent. Heavyweight Fast Retailing, the operator of the Uniqlo casual clothing chain, tumbled 3.7 percent after reporting a decrease in its domestic sales in January.

Australian markets ended slightly lower as selling resumed in technology stocks after Meta’s weak earnings and forecast miss.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 9.70 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,078, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 25 points, or 0.3 percent, at 7,374.60. Xero fell 5 percent, Wosetech Global slumped 8 percent and Block Inc. lost 9.8 percent.

Lender Westpac gained 2.3 percent after it reported progress on cost-cutting measures. Rising copper prices lifted miners, with BHP and Rio Tinto climbing 2-3 percent.

Seoul stocks jumped the most in over two months as markets reopened from holidays and data showed the country’s factory activity grew at the sharpest pace in 6 months.

The Kospi rallied 44.48 points, or 1.7 percent, to 2,707.82, marking the sharpest gain since last December. SK Hynix, Naver and LG Chem soared 3-6 percent.

New Zealand shares fluctuated before finishing modestly higher. The benchmark NZX-50 Index rose 45.68 points, or 0.4 percent, to 12,335.32.

National carrier Air New Zealand rallied 3.3 percent after the government announced a plan to reopen borders in stages from the end of February.

Rubber manufacturer Skellerup Holdings surged 4.8 percent after raising its expectation for first-half profit.

U.S. stocks extended a rally to a fourth day on Wednesday, as Google and AMD’s strong quarterly results outweighed disappointing private employment data.

The Dow rose 0.6 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained half a percent and the S&P 500 added 0.9 percent.

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