Asian Markets Offer Hope for End to Global Stock Sell-Off

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Asian Markets Offer Hope for End to Global Stock Sell-Off

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In Tokyo, stocks were inching back up to positive territory and trading down less than 1 percent at noon on Friday.CreditCreditToru Hanai/Reuters
  • Oct. 12, 2018

HONG KONG — Investors in Asia appeared to take a pause on Friday, after another day of selling swept Wall Street.

Markets were mixed after a dramatic day of heavy selling on Thursday. The muted opening suggested the possibility that investors might set aside their worries, at least for a day.

Futures markets that track stocks in the United States were rising while those tracking Europe were mixed, sending conflicting but perhaps calming indicators of how markets might open on Friday. On Wall Street, stocks have been under pressure for six consecutive days.

Skittish investors have been focusing on a host of global concerns that include rising borrowing costs in the United States, escalating trade tensions, the outlook for corporate earnings and sanctions on Iran, which could push the price of oil up.

“We all know that markets react emotionally sometimes, and there is plenty to be emotional about,” Christopher Smart, head of macroeconomic and geopolitical research at Barings, wrote in a note to investors.

Mr. Smart listed economic events in Italy, Brazil and hawkish comments from Mike Pence, the United States vice president, about China as among the concerns gripping the markets.

“Oh, and the president said the Fed chair was ‘crazy,’” Mr. Smart added, referring toPresident Trump’s comments about the Federal Reserve policy to raise interest rates as “ridiculous,” “loco” and “crazy.”

Early in the day China’s stock market was poised for broad-based selling and dropped by as much as 2 percent before pushing back up to hover closer to neutral territory. The early sell-off was led by technology stocks both in Shanghai and in Shenzhen.

In Tokyo, stocks were inching back up to positive territory and trading down 0.8 percent at noon. In Seoul the market bounced back 1.4 percent. Taiwan’s market, which was the biggest casualty of the sell-off on Thursday, was up 1.6 percent.

In Hong Kong, where many big Chinese companies are listed, the market was up 1.2 percent.

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