By Staff and Associated Press
Asian stocks fell Wednesday, tracking a brutal session on Wall Street, but optimism over the trade front after comments from the Chinese government helped stem the losses.
On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -4.42% fell nearly 800 points. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to its lowest level in three months, signaling that the bond market is worried about long-term economic growth. The sell-off short-circuited a recent rally on Wall Street.
The market gained Monday after the Trump administration said U.S. and China agreed to a temporary cease-fire in a trade dispute, but confusion emerged over just what was agreed. Last week, stocks jumped when the Federal Reserve’s chairman indicated the central bank could slow the pace of interest rate increases.
Fresh comment on the trade front from China appeared to help keep a lid on selling. A spokesman for China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement Wednesday that it will begin implementing measures agreed with the U.S. “immediately,” acknowledging the 90-day timetable for trade talks referenced by U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.31% closed down 1.6%, with tech stocks seeing pressure — Tencent /zigman2/quotes/204605823/delayed HK:700 -0.10% shedding 2.3% and smartphone-component firms AAC /zigman2/quotes/201441510/delayed HK:2018 -1.35% and Sunny Optical /zigman2/quotes/206687505/delayed HK:2382 -0.39% off 3.7% and 7.3%, respectively. Banks also fell, with HSBC /zigman2/quotes/202687335/delayed HK:5 +0.81% down 2% and China Construction Bank /zigman2/quotes/208974133/delayed HK:939 +1.90% off 2.7%. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +0.11% finished off 0.6% while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 +0.24% ended with a 0.2% rise.
Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -2.13% closed 0.5% lower, with financial stocks faring poorly — insurer Dai-Ichi Life /zigman2/quotes/208507587/delayed JP:8750 -3.01% and Nomura /zigman2/quotes/206251373/delayed JP:8604 -4.34% fell around 3% each. Robotics maker Fanuc /zigman2/quotes/202054799/delayed JP:6954 -2.81% dropped more than 3%.
South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -1.05% dropped 0.7%, with Samsung /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 -1.06% down 1.7%. Benchmarks in Taiwan and Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -0.19% fell 1.7% and 0.5%, respectively.
Australia’s S&P ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.75% dropped around 0.8% after third-quarter GDP data came in below expectations. Banking stocks again took a hit, with Westpac /zigman2/quotes/203084975/delayed AU:WBC -1.34% , Commonwealth Bank /zigman2/quotes/200638713/delayed AU:CBA -1.08% and ANZ Banking Group /zigman2/quotes/205482049/delayed AU:ANZ -2.07% all down more than 1%. New Zealand’s benchmark /zigman2/quotes/211587880/delayed NZ:NZ50GR -2.51% closed nearly 1% lower.