Japan’s Nikkei 225 drops nearly 3% as Asia-Pacific markets largely fall

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific declined on Thursday following losses overnight that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average notching its first decline of 2022.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slipped 2.88% to close at 28,487.87 while the Topix index dipped 2.07% to 1,997.01. Australian stocks also saw heavy losses as the S&P/ASX 200 fell 2.74% on the day to 7,358.30, with shares of Afterpay plunging nearly 11%.

The Shanghai composite in mainland China closed 0.25% lower at 3.586.08 while the Shenzhen component slipped 0.663% to 14,429.51.

South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.13%, closing at 2,920.53.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index reversed earlier losses and closed 0.72% higher at 23,072.86. Chinese technology stocks listed in the city rose on the day, with Tencent up 1.49% while Alibaba jumped 5.68% and Meituan climbed 3.64%. The Hang Seng Tech index advanced 1.37% to 5,396.65.

Hong Kong-listed shares of debt-ridden developer China Evergrande Group surged 3.13%. Reuters reported that the firm will seek a six month delay in making payments on an onshore bond.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 1.04%.

The moves came as the 10-year U.S. Treasury continued its upward trek, rising to 1.7352% in the afternoon of Asia trading hours. Yields move inversely to prices.

Minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s December meeting released Wednesday showed officials are ready to aggressively dial back policy help.

Major indexes on Wall Street fell sharply following the release of the minutes, with the S&P 500 dropping 1.94% to 4,700.58. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 392.54 points to 36,407.11 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite plunged 3.34% to 15,100.17.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.308 after seeing an earlier low of 96.122.

The Japanese yen traded at 115.73 per dollar, still weaker than levels below 115.5 seen against the greenback earlier in the week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7158 after seeing an earlier high of $0.7222.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures slipping 0.22% to $80.62 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 0.15% to $77.73 per barrel.

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