Asian Stocks Sink as Volatility Returns; Tencent Rises to Record

  • Gauges tracking stock volatility in Hong Kong, Japan climb
  • AAC Technologies pulls H.K. stocks lower on new Gotham report

Asian shares fell the most in six weeks, extending a global rout and sparking a return to volatility for regional markets, as concerns over U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration weighed on investors.

The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index dropped 0.7 percent as of 5:13 p.m. in Hong Kong. Japanese shares slid after the yen’s biggest surge since November, even as the currency pulled back Thursday and data showed the nation’s economy expanded. Australian investors also looked past positive jobs data, with the ASX 200 capping its biggest two-day decline since Oct. 27.

Volatility returned to Asian equity markets after a period of calm as investors consider how developments in U.S. politics will affect President Trump’s economic plans. A gauge tracking swings in the Nikkei 225 Stock Average jumped to the highest level this month, while a similar measure for the Hang Seng climbed for a fourth day.

“The market has come alive with the dynamic of volatility, which will no doubt be welcomed by many of the shorter-term traders out there,” Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG Markets Ltd. in Melbourne wrote in note. “When so many global markets were at multi-year, if not all-time highs, you know there would be some pain being felt out on the floors today.”

Trading of AAC Technologies Holdings Inc. shares were suspended Thursday afternoon after falling as much as 11 percent as short-seller Gotham City Research published a more detailed report on the company. Tencent Holdings Ltd was a rare bright spot on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, rising to a record after quarterly sales and profit topped estimates. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index closed 1.1 percent lower.

Summary

  • Hang Seng Index -0.6%, HSCEI -1.1%, Taiex -0.4%, SHCOMP -0.5%
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 -0.8%
    • The index may retreat as low as 5,680, but will rally over the coming year, Morgans Financial Ltd. analyst Violeta Todorova said
  • Japan’s Topix -1.3%, Nikkei -1.3%
  • India’s Sensex Index -0.6%
  • Singapore’s STI -0.1%, KLCI -0.5%, JCI +0.5%, PCOMP -0.9%
    • Weak 1Q GDP Growth Stalls Philippine Stock Rally: Street Wrap
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