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Asian markets fall sharply on Wall Street: NPR



A man looks at an electronic stock exchange, which shows the Japanese index Nikkei 225 on Thursday in Tokyo.

Eugene Hoshiko / AP


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Eugene Hoshiko / AP

A man looks at an electronic stock market showing the Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo on Thursday.

Eugene Hoshiko / AP

Equity markets in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea fell sharply on Thursday after the Dow Jones fell 608 points, wiping out gains for the year.

Japan's Nikkei index fell nearly 4 percent. Hong Kong-based Hang Seng, which was impacted by declines in semiconductor and other technology stocks, fell nearly 2.5 percent before finally recovering and closing 1 percent.

In Asia, the South Korean stock market fell 2 percent. India's Sensex fell nearly one percentage point.

However, the Shanghai Composite ended the day slightly, although China's markets have fallen 30 percent since the beginning of 2018.

Wednesday was difficult for the big US indices, especially the Nasdaq. The tech-heavy index closed 4.4 percent – the biggest one-day loss in seven years.

The tech giants of the index felt the jump: Facebook lost 5.4 percent, Amazon 6 percent, Apple 3.4 percent and Netflix 9.4 percent.

"What makes recent volatility more troubling is that it was difficult to identify a specific cause," said Kerry Craig, Global Markets strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management, over Bloomberg.

Volatility in US markets weighed on Asia for some time as US-China trade tensions worsened. It's also the middle of the corporate earnings season – a time when listed companies around the world need to say how they're doing – and some companies are forecasting slower demand, which makes some shareholders wary.

Interest rates are also rising.

"Meanwhile, central banks will continue to receive the highest billing as the Fed normalizes interest rates and the European Central Bank will discontinue its bond-buying program by the end of the year." Craig said.

Some investors, including David Meier, a portfolio manager at Motley Fool Asset Management, say the sentiment that stock prices have simply peaked is also driving markets.

"Volatility will be the name of the game for some time to come, and then investors need to restore their confidence," Meier told NPR on Wednesday.


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