Asia Stocks Fall as Investors Are Cautious Before U.K. Election

  • Hang Seng Index tops 26,000 for the first time since July 2015
  • Japanese equities drop for a second session as yen strengthens

Asian shares fell, poised for the first decline in four sessions, as equities retreated from recent record highs amid a dearth of news ahead of the U.K. general election and testimony from the former head of the FBI later in the week.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.3 percent to 155.05 as of 4:56 p.m. in Hong Kong, led by health care and energy stocks. Hong Kong shares touched 26,000 for the first time since July 2015 before closing just short of the level. Eight out of 10 of the Hang Seng Index’s top performers were developers, with New World Development climbing 7.4 percent.

Japanese shares extended declines for a second day as the dollar fell to a six-week low against the yen. Australia’s benchmark index slid to 4-month low as all sectors retreated.

British voters cast their ballots on June 8 after Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election seven weeks ago. The incumbent Conservative Party has seen its lead in the polls shrink as three deadly terrorist attacks since March weigh on voters. Separately, U.S. President Donald Trump won’t invoke executive privilege to stop former FBI Director James Comey from testifying to the Senate on Thursday.

“Asian markets could find little to draw inspiration from,” said Jingyi Pan, a Singapore-based analyst at IG Asia Pte Ltd, “The holding pattern for markets could certainly retain slightly longer towards the action-packed Thursday.”

SUMMARY 

  • Topix -0.8%, Nikkei 225 -1%
    • Yen +0.6% to 109.83 per dollar
  • Hang Seng Index +0.5%, HSCEI +0.1%
    • Hong Kong small caps slump as Carson Block to unveil short target
    • Evergrande surged after earlier-than-expected perpetual securities redemption
  • Shanghai Composite Index +0.3%, CSI 300 +0.7%
  • Straits Times Index -0.1%
  • Kuala Lumpur Composite Index +0.2%, Philippines Composite -0.6%, Jakarta Composite index -0.8%, VNI Index +1.1%, Thailand’s SET Index little changed
  • India’s Sensex -0.3%
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