Asian Shares Extend Global Losses After Wall Street’s Rout

HONG KONG (AP) -
A man walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm showing Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 in Tokyo, Monday. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Asian shares were mostly lower Monday, extending global stock losses after Wall Street’s big sell-off on deepening investor anxiety over rising bond yields and disappointing quarterly earnings.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 tumbled 2.6 percent to 22,682.08 and South Korea’s Kospi shed 1.1 percent to 2,498.07. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index sank 1.1 percent to 32,236.08 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 1.6 percent to 6,026.20. Benchmarks in Taiwan and Southeast Asia also lost ground. Only mainland Chinese shares showed signs of life, with the Shanghai Composite reversing early losses to gain 0.6 percent to 3,482.30.

Market jitters spread after the U.S. stock market had its worst day in two years on Friday, fueled by worries about inflation and rising Treasury yields. After an impressive 2017, U.S. and many global stock markets had a strong start to the year, raising concerns they were overdue for a correction.

A U.S. report showing job growth above expectations provided the catalyst for the sell-off, stoking speculation the Federal Reserve will need to raise its key interest rate faster than expected to counter inflation. Higher bond yields make it more expensive for companies to borrow and make bonds more attractive to investors than stocks.

“The trigger point was the U.S. and the interest rate fears,” said Jackson Wong, an associate director at Huarong International Securities. He said many of his firm’s clients were taking the sell-off as a chance to load up on shares like Chinese internet company Tencent. “Absolutely, it’s just a correction. No one is talking about the end of the bull market.”

The S&P 500 fell 2.1 percent to close at 2,762.13 on Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 2.5 percent to 25,520.96 and the Nasdaq slid 2 percent to 7,240.95.

Oil futures extended losses. Benchmark U.S. crude slid 54 cents to $64.91 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 35 cents to settle at $65.45 a barrel on Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 61 cents to $67.97 a barrel in London.

The dollar weakened to 109.91 yen from 110.14 yen in late trading Friday. The euro was flat at $1.2458.