Traders Anxious Over North Korea Bomb Test as Asian Stocks SlideBy and
Kospi, Straits Times Index are worst performers in the region
China A-shares erase losses as commodity producers rally
Asian shares retreated from a four-week high as North Korea’s test of a hydrogen bomb weighed on all major benchmark gauges across the region.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.5 percent, set for its biggest drop in more than three weeks, to 160.31 as of 4:37 p.m. in Hong Kong. Japan’s Topix fell 1 percent, with electronics makers leading declines, as the yen strengthened against the dollar. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 0.8 percent for a third consecutive day of losses. Markets in Malaysia and Vietnam are closed today.
"A vague sense of concern will continue as we don’t know what will happen next," said Hideyuki Ishiguro, a senior strategist at Daiwa Securities Co. in Tokyo. "Hedge funds have taken quite a lot of risk positions so it’s possible that they’ll offload these positions on the North Korean event."
South Korea’s Kospi index fell 1.2 percent as the won retreated the most in almost a month. Korean Air Lines Co. slumped 3.3 percent to the lowest level in nearly four months, while Hanssem Co. plunged 4.2 percent, the most in more than a month.
A negative reaction in markets after North Korea’s nuclear test could present a “good time” to “bottom fish” as there’s likely to be limited longer term impact, Victor Au, chief operating officer at Delta Asia Securities Ltd., said in an interview Sunday.
Shares in mainland China rose as strength in commodity producers outshone concerns about North Korea’s bomb test. China Shenhua Energy Co. jumped 6.1 percent in Shanghai while dropping 3.6 percent in Hong Kong. China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd. erased a 1.6 percent loss to close flat.
- Topix index -1%, Nikkei 225 -0.9%
- Hang Seng Index -0.8%, Taiwan’s Taiex -0.2%, Shanghai Composite Index +0.4%
- Kospi -1.2%, Kospi 200 -1.2%
- Sensex -0.8%, Nifty 50 -0.9%
- Straits Times Index -1.4%, Jakarta Composite -0.9%, Thailand’s SET -0.2%, Philippines PSEi Index +1%