Asia report: Markets mostly lower, Nikkei falls 2pc
Markets in Asia fell sharply on Wednesday after a losing day on Wall Street overnight, as the Tokyo benchmark slid almost 2%.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was down 1.97% at 22,177.04 - its largest percentage drop since March - as the yen strengthened 0.34% against the dollar to last trade at KPY 112.22.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was off 0.29% at 3,294.13, and the smaller, technology-heavy Shenzhen Composite went against the regional trend and added 0.67% to settle at 1,879.65.
South Korea’s Kospi was 1.42% softer at 2,474.37, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong fell 2.14% to 28.244.80.
In Seoul, Samsung Heavy Industries plunged 28.89% after it announced plans for a KRW 1.5trn rights offer by May.
It said the offer was part of its plans to strengthen its financial structure, and allow existing shareholders to take on new shares.
Reports also emerged that the firm was now expecting an operating loss of KRW 240bn in the next financial year, narrowing from a KRW 490bn loss this year.
“Risk appetite continued to wane into mid-week, with major Wall Street indices shedding more gains,” noted analysts at OCBC Bank in Singapore earlier in the session.
“Market watchers appear to remain cautious in view of further uncertainties over the outcome of the Brexit talks and Friday's potential partial US government shutdown should negotiations fail.”
Oil prices were lower on Wednesday, with Brent crude last down 1.1% at $62.19 per barrel and West Texas Intermediate off 1.3% at $56.88.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.44% lower at 5,945.71, with the energy and materials subindices slipping 1.57% and 1.66% respectively.
The major miners were on the back foot in Sydney, with BHP down 1.98%, Fortescue Metals off 1.29% and Rio Tinto 2.47% lower.
On the data front, fresh figures showed Australia’s economy growing 0.6% on a seasonally-adjusted basis for the quarter through September, down from 0.9% growth in the quarter through June.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 dropped 0.6% to 8,130.86, led lower by dairy processor Synlait Milk, which fell 3.6%.
Scales Corporation topped the benchmark’s gainers, rising 7.6% after confirming on Tuesday that it expects full-year earnings to be at the upper end of expectations, thanks to solid performances from its horticulture business and recent acquisitions.
The down under dollars were mixed, with the Aussie last 0.3% weaker against the greenback at AUD 1.3184, while the Kiwi strengthened 0.17% to NZD 1.4520.