Asian Shares Decline On Growth Concerns

Asian stocks fell again on Friday, with growing worries about the U.K.’s fiscal policy, Europe’s energy crisis and hawkish Fed commentary weighing on the markets.

Chinese manufacturing data proved to be a mixed bag, with the official PMI bouncing back to expansion territory in September, while the Caixin PMI indicated a second straight month of contraction.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.6 percent to 3,024.39, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.3 percent to 17,222.83.

Japanese shares ended at a three-month low despite encouraging economic readings. Japan’s industrial production and retail sales figures for August beat expectations, while the jobless rate fell to 2.5 percent in the month.

The Nikkei 225 Index plunged 1.8 percent to 25,937.21, marking the lowest since July 1. The broader Topix closed 1.8 percent lower at 1,835.94 despite news the government is preparing another round of economic stimulus measures.

Separately, Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said at a meeting of the Asian Development Bank in Manila that the government would “take necessary action” to respond to undesirable rapid, speculative currency movements.

Tech stocks followed their U.S. peers lower, with Advantest, Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron all falling over 3 percent. SoftBank Group, Sony Group, Hitachi and Toyota Motor lost 3-4 percent.

Seoul stocks hit over two-month lows, with auto and chemical stocks pacing the decline amid recession woes. The Kospi ended 0.7 percent lower at 2,155.49. LG Chem, Hyundai Motor and Kia fell 2-3 percent.

South Korean factory output contracted for a second month in August, while retail sales jumped 4.3 percent, marking the fastest gain since May 2020, separate reports showed.

Australian markets fell sharply, dragged down by weakness among financial and technology stocks. Miners bucked the weak trend as China reported a ramp-up in its output due to rising construction demand.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index shed 1.2 percent to close at 6,474.20, while the broader All Ordinaries Index slumped 1.2 percent to 6,678.70.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index closed 1.2 percent lower at 11,065.71.

U.S. stocks suffered heavy losses overnight, as bond yields resumed their upward climb and better-than-expected jobless claims, second quarter core PCE, a measure of inflation, and personal consumption numbers paved way for more aggressive tightening from the Federal Reserve.

The Dow lost 1.5 percent and the S&P 500 tumbled 2.1 percent to close at its lowest level since late 2020, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite plummeted 2.8 percent.

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