SEOUL, South Korea – Asian stock markets were lower Friday as investors dumped technology stocks and a drop in U.S. jobless claims failed to boost investor confidence.
The falls in Asia came after an overnight plunge in the Nasdaq Composite that led to the tech-heavy index’s worst day since 2011.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 2.3 per cent to 13,974.65 and South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.9 per cent to 1,989.88. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.7 per cent to 23,033.68 and China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.6 per cent to 2,121.71.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 1 per cent to 5,425.40. Stocks in Taiwan and Southeast Asian countries also lost ground.
The drop in the tech-laden Nasdaq index spooked technology investors in Asia as jitters spread that Internet and related stocks are over-valued.
Chinese Internet giant Tencent lost 4.4 per cent and Japanese mobile service operator SoftBank Corp. sank 3.9 per cent. South Korean Internet company Naver Corp., which owns the Line messenger app, fell 3.5 per cent.
On Thursday on Wall Street, investors revalued biotech, Internet and other once-soaring stocks. The Nasdaq ended the day down 3.1 per cent, or 129.79 points, to 4,054.11. It is now down 7 per cent from its recent high reached March 5. Other major index also fell, but not as much.
Jitters over technology companies overshadowed other upbeat economic reports. The Labor Department said Thursday that the number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level in almost seven years, suggesting improvement in the U.S. labour market.
Next week’s first quarter economic growth data from China will be the key indicator investors are looking for as it could give hints about further stimulus announcements from Beijing, said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in a commentary.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude for May delivery was down 23 cents at $103.17 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 20 cents to $103.40 on Thursday.
In currencies, the euro strengthened to $1.3895 from $1.3886 late Thursday. The dollar rose to 101.61 yen from 101.42 yen.