Tech rout roils Asian markets

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    TOKYO/NEW YORK- Asian shares fell on Wednesday and oil prices hit lows not seen since June after a rout of technology shares sank Wall Street for a third consecutive day and a major drugmaker delayed testing of a coronavirus vaccine.

    MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slid 1.12 percent. Australian stocks dropped 2.24 percent, while shares in China fell 1.16 percent.

    Japan’s Nikkei skidded by 1.69 percent.

    US S&P 500 E-mini stock futures fell 0.01 percent, but Nasdaq futures NQc1 rose 0.72 percent.

    Sentiment for equities and other risky assets also took a hit after AstraZeneca Plc paused a late-stage trial of one of the leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.

    Treasury yields fell further in Asia as investors sought the safety of holding government debt. Risk aversion also pushed the yen to a one-week high against the dollar.

    A sell-off in high-flying US technology shares, fueled partly by concerns about excess purchases of call options, has increased the risk of a larger correction across other markets.

    “The performance of Wall Street is going to leave a heavy residue, and most noteworthy is how the tech names dropped down quite aggressively. Investors will take a close note of that,” said Tom Piotrowski, a markets analyst at Australian broker CommSec.

    “The dramatic fall in oil prices in the last day is being seen as a proxy for global growth expectations. That 7.6 percent fall will certainly be resonating.”

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.25 percent, the S&P 500 lost 2.78 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 4.11 percent on Wall Street on Wednesday.