By Dow Jones Newswires
Asian stock markets largely fell on Friday, erasing the week’s gains in Taiwan and Malaysia, while Japan’s Nikkei was barely hanging on to its advance. But the biggest drop was in Hong Kong, where stocks were down more than 2% to extend the week’s losses.
Aside from lingering worries over U.S.-China trade relations, investors weighed up data that showed consumer inflation ticking higher. Financials in China and Hong Kong came under pressure after the country’s banking and insurance regulator announced credit support for the private sector.
As well, losses Friday could be a fresh sign that last week’s start-of-November bounce which gave a number of Asian indexes their best week in years hasn’t erased market concerns which have been persisting for months.
“Though the mid-term elections are over, worries that the U.S.-China trade war will drag on for the long term are lingering,” said Norihiro Fujito , chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.67% fell 1%, sliding from its 2½-week high Thursday. Nikon /zigman2/quotes/203281219/delayed JP:7731 +5.17% tumbled 9%, while robot-maker Fanuc /zigman2/quotes/202054799/delayed JP:6954 -0.41% slid around 5% and Nintendo /zigman2/quotes/208063194/delayed JP:7974 -1.94% fell 2.6%.
After rising 6 of the past 7 trading days, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +2.35% was down 2.4%. Tech remained weak, with smartphone-component makers AAC /zigman2/quotes/201441510/delayed HK:2018 +2.09% down 1.6% after trimming earlier deeper losses, and Sunny Optical /zigman2/quotes/206687505/delayed HK:2382 +3.05% down some 1.3%; they’ve respectively slumped 19% and 12% this week, and AAC is trading at fresh 2½-year lows. Meanwhile, internet heavyweight Tencent /zigman2/quotes/204605823/delayed HK:700 +9.62% was off nearly 5% after overnight weakness in the U.S. for its ADR. Energy stocks were down similarly as U.S. oil prices entered bear-market territory Thursday.
China’s Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +0.48% fell 1.3% — on pace for a fifth-straight drop — while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 +0.27% was off just 0.4%. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China /zigman2/quotes/201401473/delayed HK:1398 +1.19% fell 2.7%, while Agricultural Bank of China Ltd /zigman2/quotes/200705246/delayed HK:1288 +1.02% fell over 3%. Those moves came after Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), reportedly also said banks need to make at least a third of new loans to private companies.
South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +2.18% slipped 0.3%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan , Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -0.32% and Malaysia /zigman2/quotes/210598052/delayed MY:FBMKLCI -0.57% also posted declines.
Australian stocks /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.36% dipped 0.1%, led by energy stocks, with Woodside Petroleum /zigman2/quotes/203437212/delayed AU:WPL -0.87% and Oil Search /zigman2/quotes/204702973/delayed AU:OSH -1.15% off over 1% each. New Zealand stocks /zigman2/quotes/211587880/delayed NZ:NZ50GR +0.49% bucked the regional trend, rising slightly.
— Barbara Kollmeyer contributed to this report