Asia-Pacific stocks mostly fall; tech stocks under pressure amid rising U.S. bond yields

Asia-Pacific stocks mostly fall; tech stocks under pressure amid rising U.S. bond yields

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were largely lower in Wednesday trade, as technology stocks in the region came under pressure amid rising U.S. bond yields.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Tencent fell 3.47% by the afternoon. The Chinese tech giant on Tuesday announced that it will be divesting 2.6% of its equity interest in Sea Limited.

Shares of other Chinese tech firms listed in the city also declined, with Meituan down 9.43% while Kuaishou plunged 6.23%. The Hang Seng Tech index plummeted 3.54%.

Elsewhere in the region, South Korea’s Samsung Electronics dropped 2.54% while Kakao fell 4.93%. In Australia, shares of Afterpay slipped more than 4%.

Those moves came as investors monitored interest rates in the bond market, with U.S. Treasury yields rising at the fastest new year pace in two decades. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield rose to as high as 1.71% on Tuesday, last sitting at 1.6455%.

Technology stocks, whose future earnings are less attractive to investors when yields are higher, tend to be hit when rates rise.

In other corporate developments, Hong Kong-listed shares of China Mobile jumped 5.52%. The firmed made its Shanghai debut on Wednesday in China’s largest public share offering in a decade, according to Reuters. Mainland-listed shares of China Mobile were last up 3.803%.

Meanwhile, shares of China Huarong Asset Management plunged more than 50% after resuming trade from a nine-month suspension.

Broader Asia-Pacific moves

In the broader Asia-Pacific markets, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.85%. The Shanghai composite in mainland China dipped 0.81% while the Shenzhen component fell 1.573%.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi dropped 1.52%. The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia shed 0.23%.

Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan traded above the flatline while the Topix index climbed 0.29%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan declined 0.87%.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 214.59 points to 36,799.65. Other major indexes stateside declined amid the spike in bond yields as investors rotated out of tech stocks. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.33% to 15,622.72 while the S&P 500 dipped fractionally to 4,793.54.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.242 — still holding on to gains following its climb from below 96 earlier in the week.

The Japanese yen traded at 115.96 per dollar, having weakened yesterday from levels below 115.5 against the greenback. The Australian dollar was at $0.7232, following its recent bounce from levels below $0.72.

Oil prices edged lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures dipping 0.16% to $79.87 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 0.18% to $76.85 per barrel.

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