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Jan. 27, 2021, 11:33 p.m. EST

Asian markets sink after Wall Street’s worst day in months

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By Associated Press

TOKYO — Asian shares skidded on Thursday as a reality check set in about longtime economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic, giving Wall Street its worst day since October.

Benchmarks in Japan, South Korea, Australia and China declined Thursday. The region is looking ahead to earnings season for a read on how companies are faring amid COVID-19 infections, which have been relatively low in some nations such as New Zealand, compared to other global regions.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -3.99% fell nearly 1.3% in morning trading and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -2.35% slipped 2.2% . South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -2.80% sank 2.1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -3.64% dropped 1.9%, while the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -2.12% shed 1.5%. Benchmark indexes in Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -0.82% , Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 -3.03% and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX -0.76% all fell more than 1%.

The slight majority held by Democrats in the Senate has raised doubts over how soon the economy will get an infusion of fresh support after President Joe Biden proposed a $1.9 trillion COVID-relief package. The plan might also be scaled back.

“Investors will likely focus on the pace of vaccinations around the globe while also keeping an eye on the progress of President Biden’s fiscal rescue plan that may be facing some roadblocks in the U.S. Senate,” Prakash Sakpal and Nicholas Mapa, senior economists at ING, said in a report.

Vaccine rollouts have not progressed in Asia as quickly as they have in the West, and worries are growing about a tug-of-war for the products from Pfizer /zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite PFE -0.98% , Moderna /zigman2/quotes/205619834/composite MRNA +4.33% and AstraZeneca /zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite AZN -1.08% . Aside from China, which has its own vaccine, inoculations have not started on a mass scale in Asia, although approvals have either been granted or are on their way in most places, including Australia and Japan.

Outbreaks persist and have grown in some places such as Japan, where a third wave is claiming more lives at a much faster pace than last year, at more than 5,000 so far. Daily deaths had been mostly in single-digit figures until recently, but are now surpassing 100 people a day.

Adding to caution, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday it would keep its low interest rate policies in place, but it also released a sobering assessment of the gradual recovery ahead.

On Wall Street, a sell-off in technology companies sent shares tumbling in a reversal from the market’s recent moves to record highs.

The S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.48% fell 2.6% to 3,750.77. The Dow /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -1.50% lost 2%, to 30,303.17. The Nasdaq /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.56% slid 2.6%, to 13,270.60.

Facebook /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB +1.15% , Netflix /zigman2/quotes/202353025/composite NFLX -1.44% and Google’s parent company Alphabet /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL +0.30% /zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite GOOG +0.27% led the pullback, which started early in the day as investors sized up the latest batch of company earnings reports. The market’s skid accelerated toward the end of the day.

Traders were also focused on the eye-popping surge by GameStop /zigman2/quotes/203755179/composite GME -6.43% , a money-losing videogame seller that has become the focus of a battle between small investors bidding it higher and big hedge funds betting it will fall.

Some analysts said the selling was at least partly a reaction to the outsized moves in GameStop, AMC Entertainment /zigman2/quotes/200235402/composite AMC -3.38% and select other previously beaten-down stocks that have notched massive gains in recent days after gaining favor with an online community of individual investors.

The volatile trading caught the attention of officials in the highest levels of government. The White House said the Biden administration, including the Treasury Department, are monitoring the situation. The Securities and Exchange Commission said it was keeping an eye on the stock and options markets. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was asked about the GameStop trading frenzy at a news conference but declined to comment about it.

The surge in volatility was reflected in the Cboe Volatility Index /zigman2/quotes/210598281/delayed VIX -3.25% , a measure of fear in the U.S. stock market, which surged more than 60% to its highest level since October 30. Treasury yields moved lower, another sign of caution in the market.

Investors are also focusing on company earnings. More than 100 companies in the S&P 500 are scheduled to tell investors this week how they fared during the last three months of 2020. As a whole, analysts expect S&P 500 companies to say their fourth-quarter profit fell 5% from a year earlier. That’s a milder drop than the 9.4% they were forecasting earlier this month, according to FactSet.

Markets had been meandering near record highs since last week as investors weighed solid corporate earnings results against renewed worries that troubles with COVID-19 vaccine rollouts and the spread of new variants of coronavirus might delay a recovery from the pandemic.

“The real economy isn’t reflective of what’s happening in financial markets and there really is a disconnect there,” said Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist for Allianz Investment Management.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude lost 14 cents to $52.71 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It picked up 24 cents to $52.85 per barrel overnight. Brent crude , the international standard, fell 20 cents to $55.61 a barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.0225% edged up to 104.26 Japanese yen from 104.12 yen.

/zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed
JP : Nikkei
28,966.01
-1,202 -3.99%
Volume: 0.00
Feb. 26, 2021 3:15p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed
AU : S&P ASX
6,673.30
-160.70 -2.35%
Volume: 1.03M
Feb. 26, 2021 5:48p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed
KR : Korea Exchange
3,012.95
-86.74 -2.80%
Volume: 1.36M
Feb. 26, 2021 3:33p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed
HK : Hong Kong Exchange
28,980.21
-1,094 -3.64%
Volume: 4.13M
Feb. 26, 2021 4:09p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
3,509.08
-75.97 -2.12%
Volume: 33.33B
Feb. 26, 2021 3:01p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed
SG : Singapore: SGX
2,949.04
-24.50 -0.82%
Volume: 0.00
Feb. 26, 2021 5:20p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed
TW : Taiwan Stock Exchange
15,953.80
-498.38 -3.03%
Volume: 0.00
Feb. 26, 2021 1:33p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed
ID : Indonesia Stock Exchange
6,241.80
-47.85 -0.76%
Volume: 0.00
Feb. 26, 2021 3:00p
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/zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 33.49
-0.33 -0.98%
Volume: 41.46M
Feb. 26, 2021 4:02p
P/E Ratio
19.58
Dividend Yield
4.66%
Market Cap
$186.79 billion
Rev. per Employee
$533,860
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205619834/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 154.81
+6.43 +4.33%
Volume: 13.45M
Feb. 26, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$61.26 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 48.38
-0.53 -1.08%
Volume: 8.55M
Feb. 26, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
39.47
Dividend Yield
2.83%
Market Cap
$127.46 billion
Rev. per Employee
$352,484
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
3,811.15
-18.19 -0.48%
Volume: 3.12B
Feb. 26, 2021 5:04p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
30,932.37
-469.64 -1.50%
Volume: 538.91M
Feb. 26, 2021 5:04p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
13,192.35
+72.91 +0.56%
Volume: 5.02M
Feb. 26, 2021 5:16p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 257.62
+2.93 +1.15%
Volume: 26.62M
Feb. 26, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
25.50
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$733.62 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.47M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202353025/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 538.85
-7.85 -1.44%
Volume: 3.76M
Feb. 26, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
88.62
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$238.65 billion
Rev. per Employee
$2.66M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 2,021.91
+5.96 +0.30%
Volume: 2.00M
Feb. 26, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
35.46
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$1367.94 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.35M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 2,036.86
+5.50 +0.27%
Volume: 2.08M
Feb. 26, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
35.72
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$1367.94 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.35M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203755179/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 101.74
-6.99 -6.43%
Volume: 92.19M
Feb. 26, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
0.00%
Market Cap
$7.10 billion
Rev. per Employee
$461,857
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200235402/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 8.01
-0.28 -3.38%
Volume: 137.03M
Feb. 26, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
0.00%
Market Cap
$3.03 billion
Rev. per Employee
$140,744
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598281/delayed
US : Cboe Indices
27.95
-0.94 -3.25%
Volume: 0.00
Feb. 26, 2021 3:14p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled
US : Tullett Prebon
106.6000
+0.0240 +0.0225%
Volume: 0.0000
Feb. 26, 2021 4:59p
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