ASIA MARKETS: Asian Markets Continue To Fall After Wednesday's Selloff
By Kenan Machado
Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan markets down more than 1%
Asian equities weakened Thursday following a Wednesday selloff as investors pulled back from the region's best performers of the year.
After opening with muted moves, the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index dropped 1.6% , South Korea's Kospi Index fell 1.1% and Taiwan stocks dropped over 1%. Wednesday's selloff was driven by heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.
However, some of the moves lower have been exaggerated by holiday-thinned trading volume. That environment is likely to persist for the rest of the month, said Rob Carnell, head of research for Asia at ING.
The fresh drops in Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan, which at their best were up 20% to 25% this year, came as U.S. stocks moved a little overnight and currencies were generally steady; there are few fresh developments for market participants to trade on at the moment.
After outperforming Wednesday in part due to earnings news, Australian stocks gave up early gains. The S&P/ASX 200 was recently down 0.2%.
Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.2% after giving up early gains which followed Wednesday's 1.3% slide, the index's biggest drop in nearly three months. The U.S. dollar stabilized just under Yen110; it fell as low as Yen109.56 overnight.
Earnings news helped support Japanese stocks, with Kansai Paint (>> KANSAI PAINT CO., LTD.) up 4.5% and Sumitomo Realty & Development (>> Sumitomo Realty & Development Co., Ltd.) climbing over 3% following late-Wednesday quarterly reports. Japanese markets will be closed Friday for a holiday.
The Taiex in Taiwan fell 1.3% after a down day Wednesday. Financials were driving what is considered a tech-heavy market.