HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Chinese stocks traded Wednesday at their lowest level since 2009 as Asian markets suffered a sell-down and Japanese shares tumbled as many firms began to trade without rights to their latest dividend payouts.
The performance in Asia followed a downbeat session in the U.S., as criticism from a non-voting Federal Reserve member about the central bank’s latest round of monetary easing overshadowed solid economic data. Read more on the U.S. session.
“It appears as though the impact of recent central bank announcements is fading fast to be replaced by renewed global growth fears and yet more concerns about the lack of traction in delivering solutions to the fiscal crisis in Europe,” said Mitul Kotecha, strategist at Credit Agricole.
The Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/206600939/delayed CN:000001 +1.92% briefly fell below the 2,000-point level during the session, before ending 1.1% lower at 2,004.17. The Shenzhen Composite Index lost 2.2% to 816.79.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +2.43% slumped 2%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +1.74% and Taiwan’s Taiex gave up 0.8% each, South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +1.32% lost 0.6% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.59% shed 0.3%.
Investors in Asia were also monitoring developments in an ongoing territorial dispute between China and Japan, following reports Bejiing had rejected Tokyo’s invitation for talks at this week’s United Nations General Assembly. Read more on China rejecting talks with Japan.
In Tokyo, shares were pressured as several major names traded ex-dividend.
Among those losing ground, Advantest Corp. /zigman2/quotes/206869087/delayed JP:6857 +3.25% fell 4.7%, Nikon Corp. /zigman2/quotes/209396469/delayed NINOY +0.96% /zigman2/quotes/203281219/delayed JP:7731 +1.50% dropped 1.8% and Fanuc Corp. /zigman2/quotes/202054799/delayed JP:6954 +1.66% /zigman2/quotes/209410825/delayed FANUY +2.05% declined 3%.
Rival auto makers also fell. The Nikkei reported that Toyota Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed JP:7203 +2.08% /zigman2/quotes/200537742/composite TM -0.01% and Nissan Motor Co. /zigman2/quotes/208298710/delayed JP:7201 +1.77% /zigman2/quotes/207656007/delayed NSANY +0.29% will reduce production in China as escalating anti-Japan sentiment was hurting sales.
Toyota shares fell 2.7%, while Nissan lost 2.6%.
A stronger yen /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.2278% provided another headwind for Japanese exporters. Canon Inc. /zigman2/quotes/207639533/delayed JP:7751 +1.11% /zigman2/quotes/210242912/composite CAJ +0.18% sank 4.5% and Casio Computer Co. /zigman2/quotes/202492162/delayed JP:6952 +0.94% /zigman2/quotes/206719136/delayed CSIOY +0.14% dropped 2.9%.
Shares of Sharp Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203224600/delayed JP:6753 +1.44% /zigman2/quotes/207472799/delayed SHCAF -0.45% ended unchanged, ending the session unchanged, after the Nikkei reported lenders were expected to approve funding that will enable the firm to stay afloat through the current fiscal year.
Japan-U.S. war games aimed at China dispute
Japan's military trains with the U.S. marines for the first time on island defense tactics.
In Hong Kong, financial firms were among the main drags. Major index component HSBC Holdings PLC /zigman2/quotes/202687335/delayed HK:5 +2.22% dropped 1.4% and China Life Insurance Co. /zigman2/quotes/202359856/delayed HK:2628 +1.68% /zigman2/quotes/206573290/composite LFC +2.04% retreated 2.2%.