BANGKOK: Shares tumbled in Asia on Monday after Wall Street ended last week with a broad retreat, while Thailand’s market saw a moderate loss following a general election that appeared likely to keep the incumbent, junta-backed prime minister in power.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index skidded 3.1 per cent to 20,962.77, while the Shanghai Composite index declined 1.0 per cent to 3,070.87. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 1.8 per cent to 28,590.67 and South Korea’s Kospi declined 1.8 per cent to 2,147.60. The S&P ASX 200 gave up 1.1 per cent to 6,126.20. Investors are looking ahead to China-US trade talks that are due to resume Thursday in Beijing.
Thailand’s SET dropped 0.9 per cent after a military-backed party prevailed in the country’s first election since a 2014 coup, after tilting the electoral system in its favour. The outcome is likely to add to nearly two decades of political instability in Thailand. The preliminary results raise the likelihood that Prayut Chan-ocha, will stay on as prime minister with backing from a coalition. “However, the transition to the new government may not be smooth,” Sian Fenner of Oxford Economics said in a commentary. “It is unlikely that any party will win a clear majority and potential friction between political parties and the military could lead to the economic activity being significantly disrupted,” Fenner said. Shares also were lower across the rest of Southeast Asia and India’s Sensex fell 1.0 per cent to 37,788.12. Wall Street was roiled Friday by fresh signs that global economic growth is slowing. The jitters triggered a sell-off in stocks and sent bond yields sharply lower, flashing warning lights for a possible recession. Among the triggers was news that factory production in the euro currency alliance fell at its steepest rate in about six years, according to surveys of manufacturers’ purchasing managers. The wave of selling knocked 460 points off the Dow Jones Industrial Average and gave the benchmark S&P 500 index its worst day since Jan. 3. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks fell more than the rest of the market as traders shedded riskier assets. The S&P 500 index dropped 1.9 per cent to 2,800.71 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up 1.8 per cent to 25,502.32. The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, slid 2.5 per cent to 7,642.67. The Russell 2000 lost 3.6 per cent, to 1,505.92. Worried investors shifted money into bonds, which sent yields much lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury dropped to 2.43 per cent from 2.54 per cent late Thursday, a big move. The slide in bond yields hurt bank stocks which, along with technology companies, accounted for much of the broad decline in stocks. The utility sector was the only one to eke out a gain. ENERGY: Energy futures continued their slide. Benchmark US crude oil slid 42 cents to $58.62 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 1.6 per cent to settle at $59.04 a barrel on Friday. Brent crude shed 29 cents to $66.74 per barrel. It fell 1.2 per cent to close at $67.03 a barrel on Friday. CURRENCIES: The dollar rebounded against the Japanese yen, to 109.97 yen from 109.91 yen on Friday. The euro was little changed at $1.1302, down from $1.1303.