Asian Shares Mostly Lower After U.S. Tech Sell-Off

Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Wednesday after a continued rise in the U.S. 10-year Treasury yields pulled U.S. tech shares sharply lower overnight.

News reports on North Korea firing a ballistic missile off its east coast also kept underlying sentiment cautious.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index slumped 37.15 points, or 1 percent, to 3,595.18 after an index of Chinese companies traded in New York fell the most in more than two weeks.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index tumbled 382.59 points, or 1.6 percent, to 22,907.25, with tech stocks retreating on concerns that Tencent Holdings will keep cutting its stakes in a host of companies following several recent billion-dollar divestment plans.

Japanese shares ended flat with a positive bias as gains by Toyota Motor and Sony Group offset losses in the tech sector.

The Nikkei 225 Index edged up 30.37 points, or 0.1 percent, to 29,332.16 ahead of the release of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s December meeting minutes later in the day. The broader Topix rose 9.05 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,039.27.

Toyota Motor rallied 2.6 percent after it surpassed General Motors to grab the best-seller crown in the U.S. for 2021.

Sony Group jumped 3.7 percent after the game maker announced it is exploring the commercial launch of its own electric vehicle.

Australian shares gave up early gains to end slightly lower for the day, with technology and healthcare stocks pacing the declines. Energy and mining stocks advanced, helping limit the downside.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dipped 24 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,565.80, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 27.20 points, or 0.3 percent, at 7,899.60.

Xero, Afterpay and Wisetech Global lost 3-4 percent amid concerns over rising bond yields. Hearing device maker Cochlear declined 2.8 percent and biotech major CSL gave up 1.8 percent.

Seoul stocks tumbled amid Covid-19 worries and on expectations for a Fed rate hike this year. The Kospi fell 35.27 points, or 1.2 percent, to close at 2,953.97.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics declined 1.7 percent, chipmaker SK Hynix lost 2.3 percent and internet portal operator Naver shed 2.9 percent.

New Zealand shares ended sharply higher in the first trading day of the year, with the benchmark NZX-50 Index climbing 116.61 points, or 0.9 percent, to 13,150.38 – its highest since late October 2021.

Infrastructure investment firm Infratil jumped 3.8 percent after one of its key assets had its valuation boosted 15 percent.

U.S. stocks ended mixed overnight, a day after the country reported more than 1 million new Covid cases. The Dow rose 0.6 percent to reach a new record closing high as banks benefited from rising Treasury yields.

The S&P 500 finished marginally lower, while the Nasdaq Composite tumbled 1.3 percent, reflecting substantial weakness among software and biotechnology stocks.

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