Stocks, company news, currencies, Covid, oil

SINGAPORE — Japanese stocks dragged losses across Asia-Pacific markets on Tuesday as risk aversion sentiment took hold.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 1.77% to close at 26,336.66, while the Topix index fell 1.64% to 1,883.3. Tech-related stocks such as SoftBank Group and Fanuc lost 4.28% and 4.54% respectively.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slid 1.13% late in the afternoon and the Hang Seng Tech index lost 1.88%. Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese electric car maker BYD plunged more than 9%, and heavyweight Alibaba lost around 5%.

Mainland Chinese markets were on course for two days of declines as fears of strict Covid measures emerged. The Shanghai Composite was down 0.97% at 3,281.47, while the Shenzhen Component slipped 1.41% to 12,439.27.

The South Korean Kospi lost 0.96% to end the day at 2,317.76 and the Kosdaq lost 2.12% to 750.78.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was just above the flat line.

MSCI’s broadest Asia Pacific ex-Japan equity index was down 1.21%.

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Tuesday is quiet on the data front, but investors will be eagerly awaiting the next US inflation report and Chinese GDP report later this week. The Bank of Korea will also meet this week.

In company news, Japanese automaker Toyota Motor said Monday it was extend the suspension of a production line at its Motomachi plant to investigate the cause of a recall for one of its models.

About 4,000 units will be affected by the suspension and the global production plan will not be changed, the company said. Toyota shares fell 1.65%.

In the United States, the main indexes fell ahead of the earnings season.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 164.31 points, or 0.52%, to close at 31,173.84. The S&P 500 slipped 1.15% to 3,854.43 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 2.26% to 11,372.60.

US-listed shares of electric vehicle maker Nio fell nearly 9% overnight on Covid worries in China, and its shares in Hong Kong fell 5.16%.

Currencies and Oil

The The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, rose above 108 and was last at 108.352.

The Japanese yen was trading at 137.38 to the dollar, after weakening above 137 against the greenback on Monday.

“Markets appeared to view the expansion of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party majority in the upper house as an endorsement of the BoJ’s ultra-loose monetary policy,” wrote Carol Kong, senior associate, international economics and strategy. currency at the Commonwealth Bank, in a Tuesday Note.

The Bank of Japan’s commitment to keeping interest rates low is increasingly an anomaly and has weakened the yen.

The Australian dollar has weakened sharply this week and last stood at $0.6722.

“AUD/USD broke below 0.6750 support against a backdrop of stronger USD,” Kong wrote. “Concerns over a sharp global slowdown and fears of more virus restrictions in China will continue to weigh on the AUD in our view,” she added.

Oil futures declined in Asian trading. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 2.25% to $101.75 a barrel, while international benchmark Brent crude fell 2.02% to $104.94 a barrel.

Karen J. Nelson