By Investors Hub
Asian stocks fell broadly on Thursday on renewed worries over President Donald Trump’s America First policies and other protectionist measures.
Comments by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that he welcomed a weaker currency also added to investor worries over the Trump administration’s protectionist stance.
Chinese shares fell from two-year highs as investors booked some profits after recent gains. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 11.16 points or 0.3 percent to 3,548.30, snapping a seven-session winning streak. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 304.24 points or 0.9 percent to 32,265.45.
Japanese shares fell to their lowest level in nearly two weeks after the U.S. treasury secretary hailed a “weak dollar” at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The Nikkei 225 Index slumped 271.29 points or 1.1 percent to 23,669.49, while the broader Topix Index closed 0.9 percent lower at 1,884.56.
A stronger yen hurt exporters, with Canon, Honda Motor, Panasonic and Sony falling 1-4 percent. Chip-making equipment manufacturer Advantest declined 2.5 percent, while oil major Japan Petroleum rallied 2 percent.
Australian shares finished marginally lower, dragged down by banks and industrial stocks on growing concerns of a global trade spat following trade action by the U.S. against China and South Korea. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index edged down 4.70 points or 0.1 percent to end at 6,050 ahead of Friday’s national holiday.
Banks ANZ, NAB and Westpac ended down between 0.3 percent and 0.6 percent, while toll road operator Transurban Group lost over 1 percent.
Higher iron ore and base metal prices helped lift miners, with BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group rising between 0.6 percent and 1.6 percent.
Gold miners Newcrest, Northern Star and Evolution jumped 2-4 percent after gold prices surged overnight to their highest level in a year.
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