By Mike Murphy
Japan’s Nikkei slumped more than 1% Wednesday, as Asian stock markets pulled back amid new uncertainty about trade tensions between the U.S. and China and the possibility that the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may be delayed.
The Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -3.67% fell to its lowest point since May 11 in midmorning trading as the yen rose. The yen is seen as a safe haven for investors during times of stock tumult. The dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY -1.3670% slid to ¥109.56 at one point after trading above ¥111 in New York late Tuesday.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -2.42% fell around 1.8%, with the energy and financial sectors leading the losses. Insurer AIA Group Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/203565558/delayed HK:1299 -1.60% sank 3.6% a day after surging more than 3%. In mainland China, the Shanghai /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -3.71% and Shenzhen /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 -4.93% composite indexes were down slightly. South Korea’s Kospi was about flat, as tech giants Samsung Electronics /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 -3.04% and SK Hynix Inc /zigman2/quotes/206420319/delayed KR:000660 -5.28% jumped. Stocks in Taiwan and Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -3.23% fell.
Energy stocks dragged down Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -3.25% , with the sector down more than 2.5%, on pace for its worst day since 2016. Santos Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/207349564/delayed AU:STO -2.57% plummeted 8%, while Oil Search Limited /zigman2/quotes/204702973/delayed AU:OSH -3.35% and Woodside Petroleum Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/203437212/delayed AU:WPL -3.46% each fell more than 1%.