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Oct 11, 2018

Asian Markets at Close Report: Asia stocks crumble: Shanghai topples more than 5%, Nikkei declines nearly 4% I CNBC


Eustance Huang




Asia markets fell sharply on Thursday, with the stock indexes in Shanghai and Shenzhen both tumbling more than 5 percent.
In the Greater China region, the Hang Seng index was down by 3.88 percent in afternoon trade. Over on the mainland, the Shanghai composite fell 5.22 percent to close at 2,583.46 and the Shenzhen composite plunged 6.445 percent to end at 1,293.90.
The fall in the Shanghai index was its worst day since February 2016, according to Chinese financial services firm Wind Information.
In Taiwan, the tech-heavy Taiex dropped by 6.31 percent to close at 9,806.11, with shares of lens maker and Apple supplier Largan Precision plunging 9.89 percent.
Japan's markets also faltered. The Nikkei 225 dropped by 3.89 percent to close at 22,590.86 while the Topix index declined by 3.52 percent to end the trading day at 1,701.86, with major sectors down.
NIKKEI Nikkei 225 Index 22590.86 -915.18 -3.89%
HSI Hang Seng Index 25266.37 -926.70 -3.54%
ASX 200 S&P/ASX 200 5883.80 -166.00 -2.74%
SHANGHAI Shanghai 2583.46 -142.38 -5.22%
KOSPI KOSPI Index 2129.67 -98.94 -4.44%
CNBC 100 CNBC 100 ASIA IDX 7527.46 -255.21 -3.28%
Over in South Korea, the Kospi continued the general trend for the day by tumbling 4.14 percent to close at 2,136.31.
In Sydney, the ASX 200 fell 2.74 percent to close at 5,883.8, with most sectors lower. The energy subindex was down 3.75 percent, materials was lower by 2.56 percent and the heavily weighted financial sector fell 2.9 percent.
Major banking names in Australia fell, with Commonwealth Bank shares down 2.86 percent. Mining stocks were also lower, with Rio Tinto down 3.23 percent and BHP off by around 3.8 percent.

Southeast Asia isn't immune from sell-off

In Southeast Asia, stocks also fell sharply. During mid-afternoon trade, Singapore's Straits Times Index fell by 2.66 percent, while the Jakarta composite was down by 1.76 percent, and the KLCI in Malaysia was lower by 1.71 percent.
Meanwhile, India's Nifty 50 fell by around 1.95 percent.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 831.83 points to 25,598.74, the Nasdaq Composite fell 4 percent to 7,422.05. The S&P 500 dropped 3.3 percent to 2,785.68.
Both the Dow and S&P 500 posted their biggest one-day drops since early February, while the Nasdaq notched its largest single day sell-off since June 24, 2016.
At the same time, the most widely watched measure of investor fear spiked on Wednesday. The CBOE Volatility Index, popularly known as the VIX, leaped about 44 percent to 22.96 — its highest level since the beginning of April. The VIX measures implied volatility on S&P 500 index options.

Cryptocurrencies drop along with stocks

In the mid afternoon during Asia hours, bitcoin had fallen more than 4 percent to around $6,275, while XRP and ethereum both tanked by more than 11 percent, according to data from Coinmarketcap.com. It's not unusual to see bitcoin lead other digital tokens lower.

US futures dropping steeply

U.S. futures continued to trend lower on Thursday morning during Asian hours. As of 2:20 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average futures pointed to an implied open of 299.74 points lower.
Some analysts said that the decline on Wall Street did not appear to have any catalyst, including the ongoing trade friction between the U.S. and China. That has "been ongoing since the start of the year," Joseph Capurso, senior currency strategist at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a note.
Ray Attrill, head of foreign exchange strategy at National Australia Bank said in a note that this month's sell-off in stocks could have been due to "a simple rush to book some profits."
"The smaller-cap Russell 2000, representing companies that should not be particularly sensitive to either US bond yields or trade concerns, started falling well ahead of the US household name indices, and month-to-date is now off almost 10%," Attrill said.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump took aim at the Federal Reserve on Wednesday for continuing to raise interest rates despite some recent market turbulence.
"I think the Fed is making a mistake. They are so tight. I think the Fed has gone crazy," the president said after walking off Air Force One in Erie, Pennsylvania for a rally.
Commenting on the sell-off on Wall Street, Trump said: "It's a correction we've been waiting for for a long time, but I really disagree with what the Fed is doing."

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, traded at 95.367.
At the same time, the Japanese yen, generally considered a safe-haven currency for fearful investors, was at 112.22 against the dollar. The Australian dollar was at $0.7076.
In the oil markets, prices saw a partial recovery but remained lower in the afternoon of Asian trade. The global benchmark Brent crude futures contract was down by 0.97 percent at $82.28 per barrel, while the U.S. crude futures contract slipped by 0.98 percent to $72.45 per barrel.
— CNBC's Fred Imbert and Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.