Pedestrians wearing protective masks walk past an electronic screen displaying the opening figure of the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong. Picture: BLOOMBERG/CHAN LONG HEI
Pedestrians wearing protective masks walk past an electronic screen displaying the opening figure of the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong. Picture: BLOOMBERG/CHAN LONG HEI

Hong Kong — Asia stock markets opened lower on Tuesday despite fresh highs on Wall Street as worries about China’s slowing economic growth and regulatory changes weigh on investor sentiment.

MSCI’s gauge of Asia Pacific stocks outside Japan slipped 0.25%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell more than 0.3% in the morning session.

Japan’s industrial output shrank in July as car production took a hit from a resurgence of the coronavirus in Asia that has cast doubt over recovery in the world’s third-largest economy.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index and China’s benchmark CSI300 index opened down 0.1% and 0.2% respectively.

China’s factory activity expanded at a slower pace in August as coronavirus-related restrictions and high raw material prices pressure manufacturers in the world’s second largest economy, while services activity contracted sharply, national data showed on Tuesday.

Beijing on Monday cut the amount of time players under the age of 18 can spend on online games to an hour on Fridays, weekends and holidays, which analysts expect to continue to weigh in on tech stocks.

“The Chinese tech sector is under pressure. Divergence should continue when market faces a lot of uncertainties over Chinese policies,” said Edison Pun, senior market analyst at Saxo Markets.

Australian shares, however, rose slightly for a second straight session, led by mining and technology stocks. The S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.2% by 1.30am GMT.

Asia’s cooler sentiment followed highs set by US and global equity benchmarks in the previous session, as the Federal Reserve appeared in no rush to step away from its huge stimulus.

US crude fell 0.51% to $68.86 a barrel and Brent was down 0.56% at $73 a barrel in Asian trade as Hurricane Ida weakened into a category 1 hurricane within 12 hours of coming ashore as a category 4.

“Eyes on Opec+ meeting after hurricane Idaus hit, short-term supply shock is relieved and Opec+ meeting could mean more future supply. Crude oil may return to weakness after strong rebound for about 10% last week,” Sun said.

Spot gold gained 0.18% to $1813.54 an ounce.

Reuters

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