Asian Stocks Tumble After Wall Street Rout

Asian stocks fell sharply on Thursday after U.S. shares plunged overnight on the back of disappointing corporate earnings and weak economic data.

Lingering concerns about global economic growth, worries about the U.S.-China trade war and rising geopolitical tensions also dented investor sentiment.

Mainland Chinese shares bucked the global downtrend to end little changed after recent heavy losses. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index finished marginally higher at 2,603.80, although Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index tumbled 255.32 points or 1 percent to 24,994.46.

Japanese shares closed near seven-month lows, with chip-related stocks taking a heavy beating after a steep drop on Wall Street pulled the Nasdaq into correction territory.

The Nikkei 225 Index plunged 822.45 points or 3.7 percent to 21,268.73, the lowest closing level since March 29th. The broader Topix Index plummeted 3.1 percent to 1,600.92, a fresh one-year low.

Semiconductor maker Tokyo Electron tumbled 2.3 percent, Advantest lost 9.8 percent and Screen Holdings plunged 7 percent.

Exporters Canon, Toyota Motor, Honda Motor and Sony also fell 3-5 percent as the yen and the Swiss franc rose against the dollar. Sharp Corp nosedived 9 percent after cutting its April-September sales estimate.

Australian stocks tumbled heavily to wipe out all the gains over the past 12 months and dive into a technical correction. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 164.90 points or 2.8 percent to 5,664.10, marking its worst performance since February. The broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 167 points or 2.8 percent at 5,759.50.

BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Fortescue Metals Group, South32 and Whitehaven Coal lost 4-7 percent after base metal prices fell across the board.

The big four banks also fell more than 2 percent, while wealth manager AMP plunged 24.5 percent. Investment bank Macquarie Group dropped 3.2 percent and insurer Suncorp gave up 2 percent.

In the healthcare sector, Bellamy’s Australia slumped 6 percent to extend losses from the previous session on brokerage downgrades.

Meanwhile, gold miners Evolution and Newcrest eked out modest gains as gold prices climbed towards a more than three-month high on safe-haven demand.

South Korean stocks tumbled to a 21-month low on concerns about weak U.S. earnings, the U.S.-China trade war and mounting geopolitical tensions.

The benchmark Kospi slumped 34.28 points or 1.6 percent to 2,063.30, extending losses for a third straight session. Automaker Hyundai Motor plunged 6 percent after its third quarter net profit fell 67 percent from last year. Its affiliate Kia Motors also ended down about 6 percent.

New Zealand shares fell for a fifth straight session as a rout on Wall Street and disappointing trade balance numbers took a toll on growth-oriented stocks. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index dropped 74.01 points or 0.9 percent to 8,568.23

New Zealand posted a merchandise trade deficit of NZ$1.560 billion in September, Statistics New Zealand said. That missed expectations for a shortfall of NZ$1.365 billion following the NZ$1.484 billion deficit in August.

U.S. stocks plunged overnight in the wake of mixed earnings news from the likes of AT&T and UPS as well as disappointing housing data.

The Dow lost 2.4 percent to hit its lowest closing level in over three months, while the S&P 500 slumped 3.1 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite plummeted 4.4 percent to hit five-month closing lows.

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