Asia-Pacific shares slip as Alibaba stocks in Hong Kong plunge to record low; oil prices drop

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SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific fell in Thursday trade, with Chinese tech stocks slipping again as regulatory fears continue to weigh on investor sentiment.

Shares of Alibaba in Hong Kong fell in Thursday trade. By Thursday afternoon, the stock plunged 3.85%, after earlier dropping to as low as 164.20 Hong Kong dollars per share — a record low.

Other Hong Kong-listed Chinese tech giants also saw losses, with Tencent slipping 0.96% while Meituan dropped 5.22%. The Hang Seng Tech index slipped 1.37%.

Hong Kong’s broader Hang Seng index fell 1.71%. Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed, with the Shanghai composite slipping 0.71% while the Shenzhen component hovered slightly higher.

The Taiex in Taiwan led losses among the region’s major markets, falling 2.4%.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan declined 0.7% while the Topix index shed 0.7%. South Korea’s Kospi dipped 1.44%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.47%. Australia’s unemployment rate declined to 4.6% in July, against June’s reading of 4.9%, according to seasonally adjusted estimates released Thursday by the country’s Bureau of Statistics.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.44%.

Australia mining stocks drop

Shares of miners in Australia fell sharply in Thursday trade following an overnight decline in iron ore prices. Rio Tinto shares dropped 5.95% while Fortescue Metals Group declined 6.78%, and BHP plunged 6.38%.

“Iron ore prices dropped again overnight on demand concerns linked to China’s steel output restrictions in H2 2021,” Vivek Dhar, a commodities analyst at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a Thursday note.

“Prices have now declined 31% from July 15 to August 18, signalling just how quickly fortunes have turned for the steel-making ingredient,” Dhar wrote. “Steel mills in China are tolerating lower grade ores with higher impurities as their objective is now cost minimisation over maximising productivity.”

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Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 382.59 points to 34,960.69 while the S&P 500 shed 1.07% to 4,400.27. The Nasdaq Composite slid 0.89% to 14,525.91.

Those losses came as minutes from the Federal Reserve’s July gathering showed officials made plans to pull back the pace of their monthly bond purchases likely before the end of the year.

“Looking ahead, most participants noted that, provided that the economy were to evolve broadly as they anticipated, they judged that it could be appropriate to start reducing the pace of asset purchases this year,” the minutes stated.

Oil prices drop

Oil prices fell in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures dropping 1.17% to $67.43 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 1.42% to $64.53 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.424 after a recent spike from below 92.8.

The Japanese yen traded at 110.15 per dollar, still weaker than levels below 109.5 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7203, having dropped from above $0.73 earlier in the week.

— CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed to this report.

Credit: www.cnbc.com

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