SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Wednesday trade after overnight losses saw the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite sliding to a fresh low for 2022.
Mainland Chinese stocks attempted to bounce back from days of losses. The Shanghai Composite gained around 0.4% while the Shenzhen Component climbed 1.314%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose about 0.1%.
China’s industrial profits rose 8.5% year-on-year in the January-March period, official data showed Wednesday.
“I actually am quite impressed at how industrial production and profits have held up in China so far and I actually think that the Covid impact will not be as great as perhaps some analysts think,” David Chao, global market strategist for Asia-Pacific ex-Japan at Invesco, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Wednesday.
“I think the government is going to do whatever they can to stabilize growth and to prop it up,” Chao said. “One of the ways is through ensuring that industrial production and manufacturing continues to go on.”
Chinese stocks saw heavy losses earlier in the week as investors remain concerned over the Covid situation in mainland. Mass testing recently began in China’s capital city of Beijing after a spike in Covid cases was reported over the weekend. That comes as much of Shanghai remains under prolonged lockdown.
“The fear that Beijing is about to join Shanghai in lockdown is palpable,” Ray Attrill, head of foreign exchange strategy at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.
Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan declined 1.34% while the Topix index dropped 1.01%. Shares of robot maker Fanuc plunged nearly 6%. South Korea’s Kospi shed 1.19%.
Australian stocks also traded in negative territory, with the S&P/ASX 200 0.63% lower. Australia’s consumer price index rose 2.1% in the March 2022 quarter, data from the country’s statistics bureau showed Wednesday. That was above expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.7% rise.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.71% lower.
Tech stocks in Asia decline
Technology stocks in the region fell mostly in Wednesday trade, with shares of Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group falling 1.54%. In South Korea, shares of Samsung Electronics dropped more than 1% while Krafton shed 4.63%.
Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese tech firms were mixed, with Tencent declining 0.24% and Alibaba dipping 0.29%. Meituan, on the other hand, gained 4.89%. The Hang Seng Tech index advanced 1.23%.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.95% overnight stateside to 12,490.74. The index now sits deeper in bear market territory, at around 23% off its high.
Other indexes on Wall Street also saw sizable losses, with the S&P 500 falling 2.81% to 4,175.20. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 809.28 points, or 2.38%, to 33,240.18.
Currencies and oil
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 102.352 — above levels below 100.8 seen last week.
The Japanese yen traded at 127.68 per dollar, stronger as compared with levels above 128.1 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7162, still off levels above $0.72 seen yesterday.
Oil prices were higher during Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.35% to $105.36 per barrel. U.S. crude futures climbed 0.14% to $101.84 per barrel.