Asian stocks dropped, with the regional benchmark index heading for its biggest decline in three weeks. Japanese shares fell for a second day as a stronger yen cut the earnings outlook for exporters while China’s export slump deepened in February.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.7 percent to 125.38 as of 4:07 p.m. in Hong Kong, reversing an early gain of 0.2 percent. The Topix index declined 1 percent in Tokyo, the biggest drop since Feb. 19, as the yen climbed against the dollar. Revised data showed Japan’s economy shrank an annualized 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter, the second contraction in three quarters.
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index slipped 1.4 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index finished 0.1 percent higher, after slumping as much as 3.3 percent earlier. The nation’s exports tumbled 25.4 percent from a year earlier in dollar terms in February as imports fell for the 16th month in a row. The National People’s Congress continues in Beijing.
U.S. stocks fell, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index reaching at 21-month low, following a renewed selloff across stocks worldwide as skepticism about the strength of the global economy intensified.
Equities staged a late-day rally paced by health-care and small-cap shares that briefly erased a drop of 3.7 percent in the Nasdaq Composite Index. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 cut their worst losses by more than half. Energy companies sank further into five-year lows, on pace for their worst monthly slump since 2008 as oil plunged. Chevron Corp. slid 3.1 percent. International Business Machines Corp. fell 4.9 percent after its earnings forecast missed projections.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 1.2 percent to 1,859.43 at 4 p.m. in New York, closing at its lowest level since April 2014. The gauge trimmed a slide of more than 3.6 percent.
Global equities’ worst-ever start to a year deepened as oil continued its collapse and a slowdown in China weighs on sentiment. Japanese shares joined benchmark indexes in China and Europe in tumbling into a bear market today. West Texas Intermediate crude futures slumped 6.7 percent to near $ 26 a barrel.
Source : Bloomberg