Tokyo: Most Asian stock markets fell Monday, 6 August, after Wall Street plunged at the end of last week on the lingering credit concerns that have recently been roiling markets.
Stocks in Indonesia and Singapore shed more than 3% by midday, while share prices in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand and India were all down by more than 2%.
Chinese stocks meanwhile shrugged off the dips elsewhere to gain ground on bullish forecasts for steel makers. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 1.4% in the morning.
Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index shed 0.67% to 16,865.9 points at midday, after hitting an intraday low of 16,675.39 points in the morning session.
“What we’re seeing is a sudden rerating of risk appetite over the past two to three weeks playing out right now,” said Stefan Worrall, vice-president, equity sales, Credit Suisse.
Last week’s slides have prompted concerns that he US housing loan problems could drag on the US economy, a key export market, and cause investors to pull out of Asian stocks.
The Wall Street worries sent Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index down in morning trade 2.7% to 21,932.1 points, with most blue chip stocks falling.
Singapore’s benchmark Straits Times Index shed 3.7% to 3308.28 points.
In Jakarta, the JSX Index was down 4.03% at 2,178.23 points midday in thin trade and across the board selling. The rupiah’s weakness against the dollar helped to feed the decline.
Wall Street plunged anew Friday after a volatile week of trade, with the Dow Jones industrial average dropping more than 280 points after comments from a major investment bank exacerbated the market’s fears of a widening credit crunch.
Also, the Labor Department said Friday US unemployment ticked up to 4.6% — a six-month high — from 4.5% in June, which suggests the US economy might be slowing. Still, overall unemployment remains low, analysts noted.
The Dow fell 2.09% to 13,181.91. As has been typical in recent selloffs, much of the fall came late in the session, with the index losing more than 100 points in the last 15 minutes Friday. Despite the day’s loss, the benchmark was off only 0.63% for the week.
In currency trading in Tokyo, the U.S. dollar was trading at 117.64 yen midday Monday, down from 118.41 yen late Friday in New York. The euro rose to $1.3816 from $1.3801.