Asian Stock Markets Slump on Higher Interest Rates, Tech Rout

Friday, February 26, 2021 5:35 AM | MT Newswires

Asian stock markets retreated Friday as higher interest rates and the possibility of tighter monetary policies by major central banks drove traders out of high-flying tech-sector issues and other markets. Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo all fell back, as did other regional exchanges. The Nikkei Asian 300 Index, a broad measure of Asian markets, fell back 3.6%. The Hang Seng TECH Index lost 5.7% on the day, finishing the week with a 15.2% decline.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 opened lower on Wall Street cues and the same-day Asian tech-rout, and declined in trading, finishing off 4.0%. The overnight 3.5% retreat on the tech-centric Nasdaq set the tone, said analysts.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 1,202.26, blowing down not only below 30,000, but under 29,000 to 28,966.01, as losing issues outnumbered gainers 222 to two.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange REIT Index retreated 2.8% on the day.

The Nikkei 225 is up 5.6% year-to-date.

In economic news, seasonally adjusted factory output in Japan rose 4.2% in January from December, but was still down 5.3% from the year-earlier period, the country's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) reported.

Blunted by the COVID-19 pandemic, retail sales in Japan fell 0.5% in January from December, seasonally adjusted, and were down 2.4% year-over-year, reported METI.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index opened lower on Wall Street cues and extended losses to the close, finishing off 3.6%. Mainland China investors again sold more shares than they bought though the Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect.

The broad gauge Hang Seng fell 1,093.96 to 28,980.21, as losing issues outnumbered gainers 49 to two.

The Hang Seng is up 6.4% year-to-date.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite lost 2.1% to 3,509.08.

In economic news, Beijing plans increase China's high-speed passenger rail-service network to 43,500 miles by 2035, up 84% from present, the Central Committee of the ruling Communist Party, and the State Council, the country's cabinet, said. Beijing will also invest heavily in transport canals, cargo rail-service, and new airports.

On the other exchanges, the S. Korean Kospi fell 2.8%; the Taiwan TWSE declined 3.0%; the Australian ASX 200 declined 2.4%; the Singapore Straits Times Index fell 0.8%, and markets were closed on holiday in Bangkok. India's Sensex fell 3.8%.

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