Asia report: Markets in the red as Apple suppliers tumble

by | Jan 3, 2024

(Sharecast News) – Asia-Pacific markets experienced a mixed performance on Wednesday, marked by declines among technology stocks in particular.
South Korea and Taiwan saw significant drops, as pressure was piled on major tech firms, particularly chipmakers, after Barclays downgraded Apple’s shares overnight.

Apple suppliers were in particular focus in Asia and globally, after Barclays downgraded the tech giant’s rating to ‘underweight’ and slightly reduced its price target to $160 from $161.

“Tech stocks declined after Barclays analysts downgraded their rating on Apple’s stock, expressing concerns about demand for new iPhones,” said SPI Asset Management managing partner Stephen Innes.

“This downgrade contributed to a 1.7% fall in Apple shares as tech stocks slid.

“Tech stocks, with their rich valuations, are susceptible to the slightest economic wobble or shift higher in yields, and it’s not like everyone was participating in this narrow market high driven by AI hype.”

Most markets fall, Japan trading remains suspended

In Japan, markets remained closed due to the aftermath of a New Year’s Day earthquake centred in the Sea of Japan.

In China, the Shanghai Composite managed to edge up slightly by 0.17% to reach 2,967.25, while the Shenzhen Component declined by 0.75% to settle at 9,330.86.

Among the leading risers in Shanghai were Danhua Chemical Technology, Changbai Mountain Tourism, and Dalian Sunasia Tourism, with increases of 10.06%, 10.01%, and 10.01%, respectively.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index faced a decline of 0.85%, closing at 16,646.41, led lower by JD Health International, down 5.89%; Lenovo Group, off 4.53%; and MTR, which lost 4.19%.

South Korea’s Kospi index experienced a drop of 2.34%, closing at 2,607.31.

Leading this decline in Seoul were SK Square, Hyundai Steel, and Posco Future M, with losses of 6.17%, 5.87%, and 5.68%, respectively.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 recorded a decline of 1.37%, settling at 7,523.20, led lower by Gold Road Resources, down 8.95%; Block, which lost 6.74%; and Bellevue Gold, off 6.65%.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 index dipped by 0.34% to reach 11,730.13.

Key decliners in Wellington included Restaurant Brands New Zealand, Kiwi Property Group, and Auckland International Airport, with losses of 4.52%, 2.86%, and 2.73%, respectively.

In the currency market, the dollar was last 0.45% stronger on the yen, trading at JPY 142.63.

The greenback was meanwhile mixed against its down under counterparts, rising 0.18% on the Aussie to AUD 1.4816, while it weakened 0.06% against the Kiwi to change hands at NZD 1.5986.

On the oil front, Brent crude futures were last down 0.46% on ICE at $75.54 per barrel, while the NYMEX quote for West Texas Intermediate dropped 0.57% to $69.98.

Factory activity slowing down in India

In economic news, India’s factory activity in December showed signs of slowing down, according to fresh private survey data from S&P Global.

The country’s manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) for December came in at 54.9, marking the slowest rate of expansion since June 2022.

That fell short of the expectations of analysts polled by Reuters, who had pencilled in a PMI of 55.9.

Additionally, the December PMI was lower than the reading of 56.0 recorded in November, indicating a deceleration in manufacturing activity in the country.

Reporting by Josh White for

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