Asian shares sell-off on Wall Street tech rout, oil slides

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian shares skidded on Tuesday after a rout in tech stocks put Wall Street to the sword, while a sharp drop in oil prices and political risks in Europe pushed the dollar to 16-month highs as

investors dumped riskier assets.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS dropped 1.7 percent to a 1-1/2 week trough, with Australian shares sinking 1.6 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei .N225 dived 3.1 percent led by losses in electric machinery makers and suppliers of Apple’s (AAPL.O) iphone parts.

Overnight in Wall Street, major U.S. stock indexes skidded more than 1 percent, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq slumping over 2 percent. Indexes were weighed down by losses in heavyweight Apple after three iPhone parts suppliers issued warning on results.

The grim outlook triggered a steep selloff in Asian tech firms, with shares in Japan Display (6740.T) plummeting over 11 percent while Murata Manufacturing (6981.T) and TDK Corp (6762.T) dived as much as 8.9 percent and 8.4 percent respectively.

South Korea’s KOSPI index .KS11 dropped 2.2 percent with Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) down 2.8 percent.

A toxic mix of negative factors have hammered risk assets in the past several weeks, with the October rout in equities leaving global markets in a state of nervous anxiety. Investors have become increasingly nervous recently about a likely peak in corporate earnings growth, softening global demand, faster rate hikes in the United States and a Sino-U.S. trade war.

The Asia ex-Japan index is now down nearly 17 percent this year, after a solid 33.5 percent gain in 2017, with October the worst month since mid-2015.

Concerns about a slowdown in China and the Asian region more broadly due to U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods have spooked investors, sparking the largest monthly foreign outflows from Asia last month since August 2011, said Khoon Goh, Singapore-based head of Asia research for ANZ Banking Group.

Funds returned over the early part of November on hopes that U.S.-China tensions would ease, Goh added, with the focus squarely on a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping later this month.

“The outcome of the meeting will have an important influence on portfolio flows in Asia into the end of the year,” Goh added.

Worryingly, the Trump administration is broadening its China trade battle beyond tariffs with a plan to use export controls, indictments and other tools to counter the theft of intellectual property, the Wall Street Journal reported citing sources.

Asian markets have also been hammered as risk assets have been hurt by rising U.S. interest rates. The Federal Reserve is expected to tighten policy further in December.

The Fed’s San Francisco President Mary Daly said on Monday the U.S. central bank should continue to raise rates gradually with her “modal” forecast showing two to three rate hikes over the next period of time.

In Europe, fears about a no-deal Brexit and a growing rift over Italy’s budget hit the euro and the pound, pushing the dollar’s index .DXY to 97.693 against a basket of currencies, a level not seen since mid 2017.

It was last at 97.542.

The euro EUR= was last at $1.1225 after breaking below important chart support of $1.13.

Sterling GBP= fell to $1.286 after three straight sessions of losses took it to the lowest since Nov.1 as there were still considerable unresolved issues with the European Union over Brexit, British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday.

Oil prices hovered near multi-month lows after declining for a record 11th consecutive session amid softening demand and as Trump said he hoped there would be no oil output reductions.

U.S. crude CLc1 skidded 88 cents to $59.05 a barrel. Brent crude futures LCOc1 stumbled 83 cents to $69.29.

Spot gold was 0.2 percent firmer at $1,202.9 XAU=.

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