Asia-Pacific markets decline; technology stocks slip as Nasdaq turns negative for 2021

Shares in Asia-Pacific declined in Friday trade as investors watched bond yields as well as technology stocks in the region.

Mainland Chinese stocks declined in morning trade, with the Shanghai composite shedding 0.57% while the Shenzhen component slipped 0.844%. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced the world’s second-largest economy would target growth of over 6% for 2021.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slipped 1.74% in morning trading. while the Topix index shed 0.96%. South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.55%.

Meanwhile, stocks in Australia also declined, with the S&P/ASX 200 down 1.24%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares traded 1.47% lower.

Powell comments

On Thursday, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the economic reopening could “create some upward pressure on prices.” He said he expects the central bank to be “patient” in terms of acting on policy, even if the economy sees “transitory increases in inflation.”

Powell noted, however, that the recent rise in yields did catch his attention, as have improving economic conditions.

Bond yields rose again following Powell’s comments. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield last stood at 1.5623%.

Bond yields in Asia-Pacific were also higher, the yield on the Australian 10-year bond rose to 1.841%. The 10-year Japanese government bond’s yield also advanced to 0.151%.

Tech stocks decline

Technology stocks in Asia in Friday morning trade fell further from their Thursday tumble.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese tech firms declined: Tencent shed 1.88%, Xiaomi fell 3.74%, Meituan slipped 2.59% and Alibaba dropped 1.67%.

Shares of Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group dropped 2.86% while South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix declined 2.82%.

Those moves came after the Nasdaq Composite fell 2.11% to 12,723.47 on Thursday — turning negative for 2021.

The S&P 500 closed 1.34% lower at 3,768.47 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 345.95 points to finish its trading day at 30,924.14.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 91.707 following a rise from levels below 91.2.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.83 per dollar, weaker than levels below 107.4 against the greenback seen yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7694, off levels around $0.783 seen earlier in the week.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up fractionally to $66.79 per barrel. U.S. crude futures rose 0.19% to $63.95 per barrel.