Equities decline on political concerns

14 March, 2018

Asian stock markets moved lower on Wednesday as a political turmoil in the United States following the sacking of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson weighed on investors’ sentiment.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 notched down 0.84 percent or 185.30 points, while the Topix eased about half a percent, with most sub-indexes trading in red territory.

Earlier today, Japan’s core machinery orders for January came in at an 8.2 percent growth rate on month and showed a 2.9 percent increase year-over-year, above forecasts.

South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.41 percent, with automakers making their way up amid a weakening sentiment in the broader market. Tech companies were mostly mixed.

In Australia, the ASX/S&P 200 took a 0.81 loss, coming under pressure as major mining companies such as Rio Tinto and BHP continued to fall in the day.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index plunged 1.24 percent, with financials and technology leading other components to the downside.

Mainland China’s Shanghai composite was down 0.59 percent and the Shenzhen composite traded 0.53 percent lower. Fixed asset investment in China grew 7.9 percent in February, surpassing an estimated 7.0 percent build and a prior reading of 7.2 percent.

Last month, industrial production rose by 7.2 percent, against an estimated 6.3 percent and a previous 6.2 percent. These figures were not enough to cheer market participants as the Trump administration said overnight it was looking to toughen up trade tariffs on China.


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