Asia stocks down after tech jitters shake Wall St

May 7, 2014

TOKYO (AP) — A dismal day on Wall Street spilled over into Asian trading Wednesday as jitters over the valuations of technology companies contributed to a sharp drop in Japan’s benchmark.

The dive overnight in U.S. Internet companies, led by a plunge in Twitter’s share price, added to negative sentiment from tensions in Ukraine, where pro-Russian militants are clashing with military forces in the country’s unstable east.

The U.S. dollar’s relative weakness against the Japanese yen, coupled with expectations of slower growth following a hike last month in Japan’s sales tax, are also weighing on investor sentiment in Tokyo. The Nikkei 225 stock index fell 2.3 percent to 14,130.19. Japanese markets were closed the previous two days for public holidays.

Softbank lost 3.5 percent after Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba released some details of a planned U.S. initial public offering that analysts say could raise up to $20 billion. Softbank holds a 36.7 percent stake in Alibaba.

Though the IPO is expected to net Softbank handsome returns, the recent slump in technology shares has shaken confidence.

“Whether the market reaction and the IPO valuation will be high or not is still the major concern,” said Linus Yip, a strategist for First Shanghai Securities in Hong Kong. “The listing of Alibaba right now, may not be such good timing.”

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.7 percent to 1,945.67 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.8 percent to 21,798.68.

Shares in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, China and Taiwan fell while Indonesian shares edged higher.

U.S. stocks fell Tuesday as investors registered disappointment with corporate earnings reports. Twitter’s shares plunged 18 percent after company insiders were allowed to sell stock for the first time since its initial public offering last year.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.8 percent to 16,401.02 and the broader S&P 500 dropped 0.9 percent to 1,867.72. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite shed or 1.4 percent to 4,080.76.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery was up 58 cents to $100.08 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 2 cents to close at $99.50 on Tuesday.

In currency trading, the euro was almost unchanged at $1.3929 versus $1.3928 late Wednesday. The dollar fell to 101.61 yen from 101.68 yen.

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