Markets in tailspin on Trump turmoil

Top News | Reuters and Dominique Nguy 19 May 2017

Asian stocks fell yesterday and the dollar was stuck near six-month lows against a basket of currencies as uncertainty mounted over US President Donald Trump's future following reports that he tried to interfere with a federal investigation.

China and Hong Kong stocks followed other Asian markets lower.

The Hang Seng Index dropped 0.6 percent yesterday to 25,136.52 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 1 percent to 10,271.35.

China's blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.4 percent to 3,398.11, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.46 percent to 3,090.14. Equities in Asia took cues from Wall Street the night before, where the Dow and S&P 500 both sank.

In spite of the slump in most shares in Hong Kong, blue-chip heavyweight Tencent recorded 1.6 percent jump to HK$264. Its shares went as high as HK$271.40 yesterday following the announcement of its first quarter result on Wednesday. Brokers, including Nomura and Jefferies, raised their Tencent target prices.

A report by Citibank said Tencent's earnings growth in the first quarter was far above expectation. The bank said the launch of Tencent app Wexin's new functions - such as news browsing and search function - will strengthen its position as a social platform and increase users usage time in Tencent's ecosystem.

Trading in shares of acoustic parts maker AAC Technologies was suspended after shortseller Gotham City Research renewed its attack. AAC's shares once slid as much as 11 percent.

Other technology stocks in Hong Kong also recorded a drop. Cogobuy Group once slumped 31 percent, only to regain some ground and it closed at HK$10, down 6 percent from the previous closing price.

Cogobuy announced it would resume its shares buyback program yesterday after the market closed. IGG slumped 13 percent and closed at HK$11.08.

China's property stocks fell, even as newly released data showed that home prices in China rose 0.7 percent in April despite tougher curbs aimed at driving speculators out of what had been a red- hot market.

Japanese stocks tumbled to two- and-a-half-week lows. Strong Japanese gross domestic product data released in the early morning was offset by the White House turmoil.

The Nikkei share average dropped 1.3 percent to 19,553.86, the lowest closing since May 2.

The broader Topix dropped 1.3 percent to 1,555.01 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 1.3 percent to 13,875.98.

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