Asian stocks drop, Nikkei plunges 3.5%

by Jonathan Adams

S&P/ASX 200 slipped 1.7% to 7,512.70, Kospi declined 2.9% to 2,558.56, Hang Seng lost 1.4% to 16,161.24, while the Shanghai Composite pulled back 0.1% to 3,071.76

Asian stocks dropped Friday, with Japan’s Nikkei plunging 3.5% on heavy selling of semiconductor-related shares and other market heavyweights.

Tensions in the Middle East were weighing on sentiment across the region, and U.S. futures were sharply down.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 slumped 3.51% to 36,742.05.

Semiconductor equipment supplier Lasertec was the biggest loser, it shed 9.7% in morning trading. But most other big tech-related shares also declined. Renesas dropped 7.3%, Tokyo Electron shed 7.8% and Sony Group Corp. retreated 3.3%.

Toyota Motor Corp was 3.7% lower.

Japan’s headline inflation rate in March dropped to 2.7%, while the core-core index, excluding fresh food and energy costs, moderated to 2.9%, marking the first time since November 2022 that the index dropped below 3%.

The yen was marginally firmer against the U.S. dollar, with the latter dropping to 153.80 Japanese yen from 154.64 yen.

Markets are waiting for the Japanese central bank’s next move after it hiked its benchmark interest rate last month for the first time in 17 years, ending a longstanding policy of negative rates meant to boost the economy. But the rate remains near zero.

Elsewhere, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 1.7% to 7,512.70. South Korea’s Kospi declined 2.9% to 2,558.56. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.4% to 16,161.24, while the Shanghai Composite pulled back 0.1% to 3,071.76.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 dropped 0.2% to 5,011.12 after flipping between small gains and losses through the day. The drop was marginal, but it was still enough to send the index to a fifth consecutive loss. That’s its longest losing streak since October, and it is standing 4.6% below its record logged late last month.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by our writers are their own and do not represent the views of Trading and Investment News. The information provided on Trading and Investment News is intended for informational purposes only. Trading and Investment News is not liable for any financial losses incurred. Conduct your own research by contacting financial experts before making any investment decisions.

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