Hong Kong’s Hang Seng leads losses as Asian stocks slide

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific fell Thursday morning after heavy losses on Wall Street overnight.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index led losses regionally, falling more than 3% in early trading. Shares of Chinese tech giant Tencent plunged 8.1% after reporting that its quarterly profit was cut in half.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 2.6% while the Topix index lost 2.13%. Japan’s exports rose 12.5% ​​year-on-year in April, data from the country’s Finance Ministry showed on Thursday. That was lower than expectations for a 13.8% increase, according to Reuters.

South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.6%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.54%.

MSCI’s broader index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan traded 2.21% lower.

There is currently a “fork” in market sentiment, said AIA’s Mark Konyn.

“On the one hand, investors are a little worried that inflation will take hold and hurt earnings, and change the rating in the stock markets, which is obviously very damaging to investors. But on the other hand, they’re just as worried. for growth opportunities,” Konyn, group investment director at the firm, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Thursday.

“As we saw last night, we saw guidance from Target, we’ve seen guidance from Walmart that suggests margins are under pressure and immediately investors ran for the hills,” he said.

Wall Street’s major indexes tumbled, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing at its lowest level since March 2021. The Dow fell 1,164.52 points, or 3.57%, to 31,490.07.

The S&P 500 fell 4.04% to 4,923.68, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 4.73% to 11,418.15.

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Australia’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate for April was 3.9%, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed on Thursday.

“3.9 percent is the lowest unemployment rate in the monthly survey. The last time the unemployment rate was lower was August 1974, when the survey was quarterly,” Bjorn Jarvis, head of labor statistics at ABS said in a statement.

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The US Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 103.778, down from levels below 103.5 seen earlier in the week.

The Japanese yen traded at 128.47 per dollar, stronger than levels above 129 seen against the dollar yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.697 after a recent drop from levels above $0.70.

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