Asian shares fell this week, with the regional benchmark halting a two-week gain and Japan’s TOPIX capping its worst week since June last year, as technology shares sank amid a global dip and the yen strengthened.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 1 percent to 137.86 this week, with six of its 10 industry groups retreating, while Japanese equities capped their biggest weekly decline among 24 developed markets tracked by Bloomberg.
“This is a reflection of safe-haven moves away from the high-fliers,” said Amir Anvarzadeh, a manager of Japanese equity sales at BGC Partners Inc in Singapore.
Valuations in the technology and telecom sector “are under a lot of scrutiny right now. Given the currency trade, the stronger yen doesn’t bode well for global stock markets,” Anvarzadeh said.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Telecommunication Services Index slumped 2.1 percent and was valued at 13.93 times estimated earnings this week, while a regional gauge tracking information technology shares declined 1.1 percent and had a multiple of 12.55. The broader MSCI Asia Pacific Index traded at 12.54 times estimated earnings.
In Taipei, the TAIEX gained 0.2 percent, compared with 8,888.54 on April 3. The market was closed on April 4 for Tomb Sweeping Day.
On Friday, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) rose 0.42 percent to NT$120, as Acer Inc (宏碁) fell 1.56 percent to NT$18.9.
Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore’s Straits Times Index slipped 0.5 percent, New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slid 0.6 percent as Xero Ltd, which sells online accounting software, slumped 17 percent, South Korea’s KOSPI climbed 0.5 percent and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.1 percent.
In Tokyo, the TOPIX slumped 6.7 percent this week, closing the period at a seven-month low, as the yen strengthened 1.6 percent to ￥101.63 per US dollar.
Mobile carrier SoftBank Corp tumbled 13 percent, while Sony Corp lost 5.9 percent and Toyota Motor Corp slumped 8.3 percent after announcing one of the biggest recalls in automotive history, calling back more than 6 million vehicles to fix safety hazards.
Tech shares across Asia followed SoftBank, with DeNA Co, which runs social media site Mobage, declined 13 percent to ￥1,651 and NCSoft Corp slid 6.6 percent to 206,500 won in Seoul.
Tencent Holdings Ltd (騰訊), Asia’s biggest Internet company, was little changed this week as investors weighed the sell-off in technology shares against China’s decision to allow cross-border share investing between the Hong Kong and Shanghai bourses, a move that pushed Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd (香港交易及結算所) up 12 percent.
Beijing’s plans boosted optimism that the country will lure more investors and drove rallies at both venues on Thursday after China said it would allow a combined 23.5 billion yuan (YS$3.8 billion) of daily cross-border trading.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 2.2 percent this week, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of Chinese stocks traded in the territory advanced 1.2 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index jumped 3.5 percent.
Data on Thursday showed exports from China contracted 6.6 percent last month’s, short of analysts’ expectations of a 4.8 percent gain, fueling concern the nation may miss its growth goal.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) said Beijing will roll out more policies to support growth, while avoiding stronger stimulus.