Asian stock market: Stocks stumble as ‘dollar juggernaut’ on a roll
Asian stock market: MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) fell 0.2 per cent in early trade and is down 1.4 per cent for the week. Hong Kong markets were closed for the morning due to storms lashing the city. Japan’s Nikkei (.N225) fell 0.8 per cent.
Asian stock market: Asia’s stock markets dipped on Friday, with tech shares tumbling on deepening Sino-U.S. tensions, while the dollar was set to seal its longest winning streak in nine years as investors braced for U.S. interest rates to stay higher for longer. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) fell 0.2 per cent in early trade and is down 1.4 per cent for the week. Hong Kong markets were closed for the morning due to storms lashing the city. Japan’s Nikkei (.N225) fell 0.8 per cent.
Some $200 billion has been wiped from Apple’s (AAPL.O) market capitalisation in two days on reports of China curbing iPhone use by state employees and on Friday protectionism fears were weighing on shares of chip suppliers in Asia. Shares in Taiwan’s TSMC (2330.TW), a big Apple supplier, fell 1 per cent at the open. Shares in South Korea’s SK Hynix (000660.KS), whose chips some users have found in China’s Huawei Technologies’ new phone, fell as much as 4.5 per cent to a two-week low.
Tokyo Electron (8035.T) shares dropped 4.3 per cent. “China’s partial ban on Apple products put trade wars and U.S.-China decoupling back on the agenda,” said Capital.com analyst Kyle Rodda. “The ban is narrow in scope…however, it illustrated the two-way costs and risks of de-coupling.” U.S. suppliers’ shares had fallen overnight and helped drag the S&P 500 (.SPX) 0.3 per cent lower and the Nasdaq (.IXIC) down by 0.9 per cent. S&P 500 futures were flat in Asia on Friday.
The selling also came while tech stocks have been under extra pressure from U.S. yields that have been rising on bets that U.S. interest rates are likely to linger at 20-year highs. That in turn has unleashed the dollar, which is up for an eighth straight week against a basket of currencies , a rally that has carried the U.S. currency index more than 5 per cent higher. Dollar gains have pushed the Chinese yuan to a 16-year low and have prompted a step up in rhetoric from Japanese policymakers growing uncomfortable with the yen’s slide.
“Given challenges facing China, and more signs of a re-tightening of the U.S. jobs market, it is not surprising that the dollar is finding support, allowing the ‘dollar juggernaut’ to continue its rampaging run,” analysts at ANZ Bank said in a note. The euro is down 0.5 per cent this week and traded steady at $1.0715 in Asia with investors reckoning a hold is more likely than a hike from the European Central Bank next week.
The yen has found new 10-month lows and, at 147.13 per dollar is heading towards the vicinity of 150, where traders see high risks of authorities stepping in with support. Japan’s top currency diplomat Masato Kanda said on Wednesday that authorities won’t rule out any option to clamp down on “speculative” moves, while chief cabinet secretary Hirokazy Matsuno said the government was watching with “urgency”.
The Australian dollar is down more than 1 per cent on the week and traded at $0.6384 on Friday. Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields are up 5.5 basis points to 4.22 per cent this week. Two-year yields are up 6.6 bps to 4.93 per cent. Brent crude prices are up this week, but gains on recently robust U.S. data have been tempered by softening indicators of demand in Europe and China. Brent futures were last steady at $89.60 a barrel, up 1.2 per cent for the week.
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