LONDON (CNNfn) - Asia's main markets plunged Wednesday, led by computer, telecom and technology stocks, after U.S. computing giant International Business Machines reported slower-than-expected growth in third-quarter revenue the previous day. |
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 average plunged 467.74 points, or more than 3 percent, to close at 14,872.48, dropping below 15,000 for the first time since March 1999. Fujitsu, Japan's No. 1 computer maker, and consumer electronics heavyweight Sony led the decline.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng tumbled 2.8 percent, or 414.91 points, to end the session at 14,458.91, led by Internet and telecom company Pacific Century CyberWorks and mobile-phone operator China Mobile.
And in Australia the S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.1 percent to 3,226.7 as Rupert Murdoch's media conglomerate News Corp. plunged 7.7 percent, tracking the previous day's decline in its American Depository Receipts.
"All the bad news has not been factored into the stock market," Deutsche Securities analyst Fumiaki Sato said. "There will be more earnings-related disappointments from other global makers such as Ericsson, Nokia and Cisco Systems (CSCO: Research, Estimates)."
In Singapore, the Straits Times index bucked the negative regional trend to close up 0.6 percent to 1,828.56, as a 4 percent jump in Singapore Telecom, the country's largest listed stock by market capitalization, outweighed a 5.6 percent decline in Chartered Semiconductor.
In the currency market, the yen weakened slightly to ¥108.05 against the U.S. dollar from ¥107.95 in late U.S. trade on Tuesday.
Meltdown for Tokyo chip shares
In Tokyo, semiconductor testing device maker Advantest tumbled 11.6 percent, in step with Tuesday's 9.3 percent decline in the Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index, and a drop of more than 2.3 percent on the tech-laden Nasdaq composite index.
Advantest was followed down by chip manufacturer Rohm, dropping 6.2 percent, semiconductor equipment maker Tokyo Electron, with a loss of 7.6 percent, and Tokyo Seimitsu, another maker of chip equipment, which shed 10.6 percent.
NEC, Japan's largest semiconductor maker, dropped 4.2 percent, second-ranked Toshiba fell more than 4 percent and Hitachi slid 3.6 percent.
Nikkei index bellwether Sony declined 4 percent and PC maker Fujitsu dropped 5.4 percent.
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone fell 4.5 percent, with the general flight out of tech shares compounded by concern about the imminent increase in the supply of NTT stock as the government prepares for a fresh sale of NTT shares next month.
NTT DoCoMo, the country's biggest mobile-phone company, fell 1.9 percent and Japan Telecom slipped 2.9 percent.
Yahoo Japan dived 16 percent after shares in its U.S. sibling Yahoo! tumbled more than 10 percent on Tuesday.
Internet investor and mobile-phone subscription agent Hikari Tsushin fell 2.2 percent, and leading Internet investor Softbank fell 5.7 percent.
Sharp losses in Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, Internet and telecommunication company Pacific Century CyberWorks fell more than 8.6 percent to touch an 11-month low of HK$6.30 (80.79 U.S. cents).
Hutchison Whampoa fell 5 percent following a 4 percent drop Tuesday in shares of U.K. mobile-phone operator Vodafone Group, in which Hutchison has a minority stake. Analysts said investors were also concerned about the cost of its investment in third-generation mobile-phone networks in Europe.
China Mobile lost 3.5 percent amid fears the company would have to drop the price of its forthcoming share placement to attract sufficient demand, analysts said.
Taiwan's Weighted index plunged 4.7 percent to a 54-month low of 5,432.23, led by IBM-related stocks - Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, Acer, Hon Hai Precision and Nanya Technology all fell by 7 percent, the maximum permitted in a single session.
South Korea's Kospi rose 0.3 percent, although the Seoul market's tech-heavy Kosdaq index slipped 0.2 percent.
The JSX index in Jakarta dipped 0.3 percent and Manila's PHS index fell 0.6 percent.
In Bangkok, the SET composite index rose almost 2.6 percent and Malaysia's KLSE index gained 0.9 percent.
--from staff and wire reports