November 13, 2018: Technology firms fell in Asia Tuesday, tracking a deep sell-off in New York where Apple was hammered by worries about demand for its iPhones, while energy firms also fell with oil prices.
After last week's US elections-inspired mini-rally, global equities resumed their months-long slide as investors fret over a number of issues from the China-US trade war and Brexit to rising US interest rates and slowing economic growth.
The latest retreat comes after a key parts supplier said a client — widely taken to be Apple — had slashed orders, stoking speculation the US titan's popular handset was not selling as well as in the past.
Apple was already under pressure after posting disappointing earnings earlier this month and announcing it would no longer report iPhone sale numbers. The firm sank five percent Monday and is almost 17 percent down from its record high touched at the start of October.
The retreat in New York's tech firms was repeated in Asia, with Apple suppliers and other firms in the sector taking a severe hit.
In Tokyo, Japan Display collapsed 9.5 percent to its lowest since listing in 2014, Alps Electronics sank more than four percent, and Sony was off almost 2.7 percent. Taiwan Semiconductor dived 1.7 percent in Taipei.
Samsung shed 1.6 percent in Seoul and AAC Technologies retreated one percent in Hong Kong.
However, there were some recoveries thanks to bargain-buying, with Tencent up 0.4 percent in the afternoon in Hong Kong, while Foxconn closed up 1.6 percent in Taipei.
Broader markets, while mostly down, also pared initial losses. Tokyo dropped two percent and Hong Kong slipped 0.3 percent, while Shanghai finished up, adding 0.9 percent.
Sydney was 1.8 percent lower, while Singapore, Seoul, Taipei, Wellington and Manila were all in negative territory. Mumbai, Bangkok and Jakarta were higher.
Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trade at OANDA, remained downbeat about the outlook.
“While regional equity markets are bouncing off the session lows, the toxic mix of negative inputs will continue to weigh on sentiment,” he said in a note.
“With global equities continuing to trend lower it paints a much less compelling picture for those looking to bargain hunt and pick up some arguably undervalued pockets in the Asia equity basket.”
Wall of worry:
Energy firms were skittled by another dive in oil prices.
Crude has been torpedoed since hitting four-year highs last month as dealers fret about oversupply, weakening demand and worries about the impact of the China-US trade war.
Signs of a softer-than-expected impact from US sanctions on Iranian crude exports also weighed on prices.
The commodity enjoyed a healthy rise early Monday after Saudi Arabia called for a global output cut of one million barrels per day and unveiled plans to trim its own production by 500,000 barrels from December.
However, Donald Trump later hit out at the announcement in a tweet calling for prices to go lower.
“Hopefully, Saudi Arabia and OPEC will not be cutting oil production. Oil prices should be much lower based on supply!” he wrote.
Both main contracts were down more than one percent in Asia. And energy firms plunged across the board, with CNOOC off four percent in Hong Kong and Inpex three percent down in Tokyo, while Woodside Petroleum lost 2.4 percent in Sydney.
The dollar was also up against most other high-yielding and emerging market currencies as investors seek out safe bets to protect them against risk, though it dipped against its major peers.
The pound managed to edge higher though it faces the prospect of more selling as Britain and the European Union struggle to hammer out a Brexit agreement with a deadline approaching.
David Kudla, chief executive officer of Mainstay Capital Management, said investors were facing a number of issues that were depressing stock markets.
“We always talk about that proverbial wall of worry and that wall right now is pretty high,” he told Bloomberg TV.
“We have the issues in China with the growth concerns there, we have the issues in Europe with the battle between Italy and the EU, the UK getting ready for Brexit. There is some guidance lower on earnings, and a Federal Reserve that is going to raise rates.”