Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Picture: REUTERS
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Picture: REUTERS

Tokyo — Asian stock markets skidded on Tuesday and Europe was expected to follow, pressured by sharp losses on Wall Street as technology firms tumbled on worries about slackening demand.

The dollar sagged after weak US data further sapped confidence in the currency, while oil prices slipped despite expected Opec supply cuts.

Spreadbetters expected European stocks to open lower, with Britain's FTSE falling 0.1%, Germany's DAX losing 0.5% and France's CAC dipping 0.3%. US S&P mini futures were down 0.3%.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 1.2%.

Tech stocks were under pressure across Asia following US losses. In Seoul, Samsung Electronics fell 2% and SK Hynix dropped 3.5%, while Japan's Tokyo Electron was down 1.8%, Advantest lost 2.7% and Sony shed 3.1%.

US stocks came under heavy selling on Monday, with Nasdaq tumbling 3%, as investors dumped Apple, internet and other technology shares. Conflicting signals between the US and China on their trade dispute added to caution.

"The drop by U.S. stocks will cut short any attempt by equity markets to mount a sustained bounce. Investor sentiment has been subdued by lingering weakness in US technology shares," said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management in Tokyo.

Japan's Nikkei slipped 1.1%, with shares of Nissan Motor tumbling more than 5% after its Chairman Carlos Ghosn was arrested on Monday for alleged financial misconduct. He will be fired from the board this week.

"This incident will make investors review if Japanese corporate governance is working," said Toru Ibayashi, executive director of Wealth Management at UBS Securities Japan.

Elsewhere in Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index retreated 1.7%, Australian stocks lost 0.4% and tech-heavy South Korean shares dropped 1 percent.

Global stock markets have suffered a sharp shakeout in the past two months, pressured by worries of a peak in corporate earnings growth, rising borrowing costs, slowing global economic momentum and international trade tensions. Trillions of dollars were wiped off equities in a particularly torrid October month.

In currencies, the dollar struggled at a near two-week low against a basket of currencies.

Data released on Monday showed US home builder sentiment recorded its steepest one-month drop in more than four-and-a-half years in November.

The dollar had also been weighed down after fed vice-chair Richard Clarida and Dallas Fed president Robert Kaplan  raised concerns over a potential global slowdown late last week.

The US currency has rallied strongly this year, buoyed by three Fed rate hikes and a robust economy, though some expect the bull run may be nearing an end.

With long-term US Treasury yields slipping to a seven-week low of 3.052% in the wake of weaker stocks and US housing data, the dollar index against a basket of six major currencies hovered near 96.120, an 11-day low plumbed on Monday.

The euro was little changed at $1.1450 after gaining 0.35% overnight.

The dollar slipped to a three-week low of ¥112.40 and last traded at ¥112.55.

The Australian dollar, sensitive to shifts in risk sentiment, extended the previous day's retreat, slipping 0.3% to $0.7274.

Oil prices lost steam as fears about slower global demand and a surge in US production outweighed expected supply cuts by oil cartel Opec.

US crude futures were down 0.4% at $56.98 per barrel and Brent slipped 0.6% to $66.40 per barrel. 

Reuters