AFP: Asian markets tumbled yesterday to end two days of gains as a US tech sell-off spread to the region, adding to concerns over corporate results.
Despite yet another Dow Jones record Thursday, Tokyo and Hong Kong both closed down 0.6 per cent while Seoul and Sydney ended the day losing more than one percent.
Chinese internet giant Tencent and South Korean conglomerate Samsung Electronics were among the big tech losers in Asia.
The gloom spread to Europe with London also opening down and Shanghai the only major Asian bourse to eke out modest gains.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq’s streak of all-time high closes ended Thursday with Apple, Google-parent Alphabet and Netflix shares all slumping at least 1.5 percent.
Investors were also spooked after internet colossus Amazon reported its profit shrank despite surging sales as it poured money into growth, with its shares slipping three percent.
“With Amazon’s earnings falling short of estimates, the US market may readjust its expectations,” said Hideyuki Ishiguro, a senior strategist at Daiwa Securities in Tokyo.
“Investors are becoming increasingly wary over the historically low volatility levels, with a host of key economic data coming out in the US.”
The dollar, which had fallen sharply on Wednesday after a Federal Reserve policy statement highlighted a tepid inflation outlook, again lost ground against its major peers after staging a modest recovery on data showing US durable goods orders climbed more than expected.
Thursday figures also showed the US goods trade deficit fell, fuelling hopes of solid US growth data later in the day, with consumer spending, manufacturing and service-sector data due next week.
The Dow closed at its second straight record following strong earnings from Verizon, Procter & Gamble and Boeing, with the blue chip index tracking increasing optimism over the state of the world economy.
Asian investors largely discounted a raft of Japanese economic data, which showed household spending rose after 15 months of declines while inflation stayed tepid.
Oil took a breather in Asian trade yesterday after rising for four straight days on receding US crude inventories, although prices were pegged by lingering concerns about an oversupply.
Dongyul Lim, senior sales trader at CMC Markets in Singapore, said: “The US could continue to increase oil production at any time, and rises in oil prices could be subdued if there is no clarity over future US output growth.”