Asia Markets: Asian markets pull back, led by banking and tech stocks

The global pullback in equity markets continued in Asia on Wednesday following the firing of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Many investors, though, said they were nonplused by the move given the recent churn in the Trump administration.

Financials and tech stocks, two of the best-performing sectors in the U.S. so far this year, led Tuesday’s declines. And 10-year Treasury yields pulled back. Rising bond yields have raised hopes of higher earnings for banks and insurers.

After four straight days of gains in Japan NIK, -1.04%  , Taiwan Y9999, -0.31%   and South Korea SEU, -0.51%  , indexes in all three stock markets fell about 0.5% in recent trading.

In Japan, chip makers Renesas Electronics 6723, -4.13%   and Rohm 6963, -2.50%   dropped 3.8% and 2.3% respectively while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing 2330, -0.77%   pulled back 1.4%. Late Monday, President Donald Trump blocked an effort by Broadcom AVGO, -0.62%   to acquire Qualcomm QCOM, -4.95%  , citing a national security threat.

In Hong Kong HSI, -1.25%  , stocks opened down more than 1% on weakness from banks and tech companies.

A U.S. index of chip stocks fell 1.6% Tuesday and the Nasdaq Composite’s seven-day winning streak was snapped.

Meanwhile, signs have emerged that corporate earnings have started to ease in some parts of the Asia-Pacific region, notably South Korea and Taiwan, said Sean Taylor, chief investment officer for Asia-Pacific at Deutsche Asset Management.

“We’ve taken money out of Asia and put it into the rest of emerging markets,” he said.

Australia’s stock benchmark XJO, -0.70%   fell about 0.6%, hurt by weakness in commodity related stocks. But crude futures rose slightly in Asian trading as a U.S. industry group issued upbeat weekly inventory data. New Zealand’s NZX 50 NZ50GR, -0.40%   shed 0.4%.

Overnight, U.S. inflation data showed that price pressures remained muted in February even as the economy gathered steam. The prospect that the Federal Reserve might have to act more aggressively to contain inflation helped spark last month’s global slide for stocks.

The U.S. dollar JPYUSD, +0.101438%   slipped against the yen, with the dollar last buying ¥106.73 after hitting ¥107.29 in U.S. trading hours. Minutes from the Bank of Japan’s February meeting showed that some board members warned the central bank should keep a close eye on unexpected side effects from the current ultralow rate policy.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, was little changed.

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