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Asia: Stocks slide, Apple suppliers track losses in tech giant

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Asia stocks sank Friday, capping a choppy week, following losses in New York and Europe, with Apple suppliers taking a hit after the tech giant's shares tumbled in US trade.

[HONG KONG] Asia stocks sank Friday, capping a choppy week, following losses in New York and Europe, with Apple suppliers taking a hit after the tech giant's shares tumbled in US trade.

Oil prices also retreated after hitting new six-month highs after the International Energy Agency predicted a global supply glut would ease in the second half of 2016.

Tokyo was one per cent lower following after some disappointing earnings reports but Nissan soared almost five per cent a day after saying it will buy a one-third stake in scandal-hit Mitsubishi for US$2.2 billion.

But Mitsubishi was down almost five per cent after soaring more than 16 per cent Thursday on the buyout talk.

Apple suppliers were under pressure after the US giant fell 2.4 per cent in New York, extending a sell-off that began on April 26 when it reported its first ever drop in iPhone sales.

Japan Display sank 5.2 per cent in Tokyo Friday, while Alps Electric lost 3.2 per cent and Seoul-listed LG Display sank 3 per cent.

"We're losing sight of Apple's growth story," Juichi Wako, a senior strategist at Nomura Holdings in Tokyo told Bloomberg News.

"We should keep a close eye on some electronic shares related to Apple" in Tokyo trading.

In other markets, Hong Kong was down 1.1 per cent, Sydney lost 0.5 per cent and Taiwan slipped 1.1 per cent.

Shanghai flitted in and out of positive territory with investors cautious ahead of the Saturday release of retail sales and industrial production data for April.

Concerns about the world's second largest economy returned last week after a disappointing trade report, while a government warning over debt levels has sparked fears Beijing will hold off introducing any fresh stimulus for the time being.

Seoul was down 0.5 per cent as South Korea's central bank on Friday kept its record-low interest rate unchanged for an 11th straight month, despite a slowdown in economic growth.

Oil prices fell after rallying to new peaks on the back of IEA predictions that the global supply glut would ease this year.

In its monthly report, the agency predicted "solid" growth in oil demand during 2016, after stronger-than-expected demand in the first quarter, mainly driven by India.

And though it kept its 2016 demand forecast unchanged, the Paris-based agency said it was more likely to be revised higher than lower.

The dollar edged down to 108.91 yen from 109.00 yen on Thursday in New York but is still well above levels seen earlier this week, which IG markets analyst Angus Nicholson said would likely see "Japanese policy makers breathe a sigh of relief".

AFP