Asian Stocks Mostly Fall on Wall Street Slide, Trade Fears

TOKYO (AP) -
A currency trader watches screens at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Asian shares were mostly lower Thursday after another round of selling on Wall Street amid investor worries about a trade war.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 dropped 0.4% to 20,913.68. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.8% to 6,385.60. South Korea’s Kospi edged up 0.5% to 2,032.49. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.5% at 27,092.83, while the Shanghai Composite lost 0.9% to 2,889.36.

The latest market slide comes as investors worry that the trade war between the U.S. and China will derail global economic and corporate profit growth as it drags on with no sign of a resolution.

“The cracks in global equity markets threatened to grow wider still as relentless haven-buying of sovereign bonds overnight pushed key yields even lower and sent recession fears through stocks,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda.

“Asia is unlikely to feel much relief today either, with both the Nikkei 225 and the ASX 200 down.”

On Wall Street overnight, the S&P 500 index fell 19.37 points, or 0.7%, to 2,783.02. The index had been down 1.3% earlier. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 221.36 points, or 0.9%, to 25,126.41. It had tumbled 409 points. The Nasdaq composite slid 60.04 points, or 0.8%, to 7,547.31. The Russell 2000 index of small companies dropped 14.07 points, or 0.9%, to 1,489.95.

With two more trading days left in May, the S&P 500 is heading for a loss of 5.5%. That would be its first monthly loss since December. The market has been heading steadily lower this month as prospects for the economy have dimmed and as traders got more worried about the lingering trade feud between Washington and Beijing.

In early May the U.S. and China concluded their 11th round of trade talks with no agreement. The U.S. then more than doubled duties on $200 billion in Chinese imports, and China responded by raising its own tariffs.