Asian stocks moved mostly lower during trading on Wednesday as investors reacted to mixed data out of the United States and China.
While better-than-expected data from the U.S. services sector rekindled expectations for continued rate increases by the Federal Reserve, dismal trade data from China offset recent investor optimism over an easing of some Covid-19 controls in the country.
Regional losses remained capped somewhat after U.S. lawmakers scaled back a proposal that placed new curbs on semiconductor sales to China.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index dipped 0.4 percent to 3,199.62 after data showed China’s exports and imports both shrank to their weakest level since mid-2020 in November. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index tumbled 3.2 percent to 18,814.82.
Japanese shares fell notably as U.S. recession fears mounted. The Nikkei 225 Index dropped 0.7 percent to 27,686.40, while the broader Topix finished marginally lower at 1,948.31.
Sony Group and Fast Retailing fell 1-2 percent, while aggressive tech investor SoftBank Group rose 0.9 percent.
Seoul stocks ended lower for the fourth straight day amid foreign and institutional selling after top U.S. banks warned of a recession.
The Kospi slipped 0.4 percent to 2,382.81. Refiner SK Innovation led losses to close 3.5 percent lower at 164,500 won, while national flag carrier Korean Air jumped 3.6 percent.
Australian markets retreated after GDP data for the September quarter came in slightly below expectations. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.9 percent to 7,229.40, while the broader All Ordinaries Index closed 0.9 percent lower at 7,423.20.
Selling was seen across the board, with technology, financial and energy stocks leading losses. Gold miners outperformed after bullion prices spiked.
Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s S&P NZX-50 Index ended down 0.2 percent at 11,610.99.
U.S. stocks fell sharply overnight to extend losses from the previous session as signs of a resilient economy cast doubt on the Fed easing rate hikes.
The Dow lost 1 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite tumbled 2 percent and the S&P 500 shed 1.4 percent.
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