Asian Shares Tumble After Weak US, China Data


Asian stocks succumbed to selling pressure on Friday as weak data from the U.S. and China rekindled investor worries about a slowdown in the global economy.

U.S. President Donald Trump's insistence that border security justifies a state of emergency and skepticism over the latest round of U.S.-China trade talks also kept investors nervous.

China's Shanghai Composite index fell 37.31 points or 1.37 percent to 2,682.38 as weak inflation raised deflation concerns. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 1.87 percent to 27,900.84.

Consumer prices in China were up 1.7 percent year on year in January, the National Bureau of Statistics said. That was shy of expectations for an increase of 1.9 percent, which would have been unchanged from the December reading.

Factory inflation slowed for the seventh straight month on cooling demand. Producer prices were up 0.1 percent on year, shy of expectations for an increase of 0.5 percent and down from 0.9 percent in the previous month.

Japanese shares fell sharply as a firm yen pulled down exporters and falling U.S. yields on the back of weak U.S. data weighed on the financial sector.

The benchmark Nikkei lost 239.08 points or 1.13 percent to 20,900.63, while the broader Topix index closed 0.79 percent lower at 1,577.29.

Automakers Honda Motor and Mazda Motor fell around 2 percent while Japan Display declined 2.7 percent after the company said it expects to post its fifth straight year of losses.

In the financial sector, T&D Holdings and Dai-ichi Life Holdings plummeted 4-5 percent.

Australian markets edged up slightly, with energy stocks leading the surge. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index inched up 6.70 points or 0.11 percent to 6,066.10 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 9 points or 0.15 percent at 6,148.60.

Energy stocks Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Origin Energy, Oil Search and Beach Energy climbed 1-2 percent as Brent crude futures hit fresh 2019 highs.

Lynas Corp soared 11.9 percent after the minerals miner provided an update to the exchange on its NUF residue produced at the Lynas Malaysia plan.

Scandal-hit wealth manager AMP lost 3.1 percent after issuing a weak outlook. Whitehaven Coal slumped 6.7 percent after cutting its full-year production guidance.

Property classifieds business Domain Holdings Australia jumped 21 percent after posting strong first-half revenue.

Medibank Private rallied 2.9 percent after the health insurer said it would consider acquiring a private health insurance business in a stressed operating environment.

Automotive Holdings Group plunged 8.2 percent after the company said it would record a combined impairment of A$226 million against its struggling franchised and refrigerated logistics businesses in its first-half year results.

Seoul stocks tumbled as weak U.S. retail sales data and tepid inflation figures from China rekindled global growth worries.

On the domestic front, South Korea posted a current account surplus of $4.82 billion in December, the Bank of Korea said - down from $5.22 billion in November.

The benchmark Kospi dropped 29.76 points or 1.34 percent to 2,196.09, marking the steepest single-day loss since Jan. 2. Tech heavyweight Samsung Electronics fell over 3 percent and chipmaker SK Hynix tumbled 4.7 percent.

New Zealand shares fell, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ending down 39.27 points or 0.42 percent at 9,245.65 after a survey showed the country's manufacturing sector expanded at a slower pace in January.

U.S. stocks ended mostly lower overnight after the release of weak retail sales and producer price inflation data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.4 percent and the S&P 500 slid 0.3 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite edged up 0.1 percent.