Asian Stocks Slide as Topix Extends Losses in Global Bear Market

Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index heading for its biggest weekly decline in a month, after global equities sank into a bear market and Japanese shares extended losses as the yen strengthened.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 1.7 percent to 114.50 as of 9:11 a.m. in Tokyo. The gauge is headed for a 4.9 percent decline this week. The Topix index slipped 4.1 percent as the market resumed trading following Thursday’s holiday. Combined losses in U.S. and European equities dragged the MSCI All-Country World Index down 20 percent from a record reached in May, the common definition of a bear market.

Central bank activity remained in focus as negative interest rates have eclipsed investor worries over China’s fading economy and the near two-year collapse in oil prices. Sweden lowered interest rates that are already below zero, about two weeks after Japan shocked markets by imposing negative rates in a bid to quell the turmoil. Investors ignored a second day of testimony from Janet Yellen, whose indication that the Federal Reserve won’t rush to raise benchmark interest rates in the face of global ructions failed to stem the selloff in risk assets.

Futures on the Hang Seng Index slipped 1.4 percent in their most recent trading, while those for the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index lost 1.6 percent. Hong Kong stocks fell Thursday in their worst start to a lunar new year since 1994 as the global equity rout deepened. Markets in mainland China, Taiwan and Vietnam remain closed for the holidays.

Source: Bloomberg

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U.S. Stocks Join Global Slide, Nasdaq Composite Near Bear Market

U.S. stocks fell, with the Nasdaq Composite Index closing in on a bear market, as investors shunned risk worldwide amid concern that central-bank efforts to support growth are losing their potency.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 1.2 percent to 1,829.35 at 9:33 a.m. in New York, extending declines to a fifth day. The Nasdaq Composite fell 1.2 percent to edge closer to a 20 percent drop from its record.

Data today showed filings for unemployment benefits declined to a seven-week low as hiring managers demonstrated confidence in the outlook after temporary adjustments around the holidays. Reports on retail sales and consumer sentiment are due tomorrow.

The S&P 500 closed Wednesday 13 percent below its all-time high set in May, near its lowest level in two years. The benchmark hasn’t managed to post a gain in the past four sessions — another drop today would mark its longest losing streak since September. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed yesterday 18 percent below its record set in July.

Source: Bloomberg

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