Asian stocks drop after Wall Street's tech rally stumbles
By Tom Westbrook and Alwyn Scott SINGAPORE/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Asia's stock markets slipped on Friday, following the steepest Wall Street selloff since June, while safer bonds and the dollar found support as investors sought shelter. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.6%.
By Tom Westbrook and Alwyn Scott
SINGAPORE/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Asia's stock markets slipped on Friday, following the steepest Wall Street selloff since June, while safer bonds and the dollar found support as investors sought shelter. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> fell 0.6%. Japan's Nikkei <.N225> dropped 1.3% while markets in Sydney <.AXJO> and Seoul <.KS11> fell 2%.
The moves are more muted than the 5% plunge on the tech-heavy Nasdaq <.IXIC> overnight, or the S&P 500's 3.5% drop, which traders said was overdue given recent frothy gains. But investors are worried the fall might turn into a deeper rout, with a crucial U.S. payrolls report due later on Friday seen as possible selling trigger if it disappoints. After-hours trade in U.S. tech companies pointed to further pressure and futures dropped, with S&P 500 futures
"No single factor sparked the sell-off, rather it seemed to be an accumulation of worries about the rally in the tech sector, overcrowding and rising valuations," said Kerry Craig, Global Market Strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management.
"However, his is unlikely to be a repeat of the tech wreck of the late 1990s, given how much the market and sector have changed," he added.
The tumble was the biggest one-day percentage drop on the tech-focused Nasdaq 100 <.NDX> since March, while the broader Nasdaq, S&P 500 and Dow Jones indexes fell by their most since June and the darling stocks of recent months were hit hardest. [.N]
Still, the plunge only wound the Nasdaq's level back as far as where it sat last Tuesday. It is still up 28% for the year so far and 73% higher than its March trough.
"Now the question is whether the correction has legs or whether investors are tempted back in," said Rodrigo Catril of National Australia Bank in Sydney.
More muted selling in Asia also focused on tech names with the sector leading losers on the Nikkei and chip makers falling in Korea. SK Hynix <000660.KS> dropped 2% and Samsung <005930.KS> 1.7%.
The mood drove only modest moves in the currency market, with the dollar extending its recent bounce a little to put it on track for its best week since June. [FRX/]
The risk-sensitive Australian dollar
Bonds held gains with the yield on benchmark 10-year U.S. debt at 0.6364%, down from a 2-1/2 month peak of 0.7890% touched in late August. [US/]
Oil was under pressure and tracked back toward overnight lows amid worries about U.S. demand. Brent crude futures
(Reporting by Tom Westbrook in Singapore and Alwyn Scott and Herbert Lash in New York; Editing by Sam Holmes)
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