CANBERA (dpa-AFX) - Asian stock markets are sharply lower on Monday following the losses on Wall Street Friday as worries about a tit-for-tat escalation in the U.S.-China trade war more than offset a positive reaction to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's highly anticipated speech at the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium.
On Friday, the Chinese government announced retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. goods and U.S. President Donald Trump responded by saying his country will hike tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods to 30 percent from 25 percent. In addition, the 10 percent tariff on the remaining $300 billion worth of Chinese imports announced by Trump earlier this month will now be 15 percent.
The Australian market is losing following the sharp losses on Wall Street Friday. Investors also digested mostly weak corporate earnings results from major local companies.
On Friday, the Chinese government announced retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. goods and U.S. President Donald Trump responded by saying his country will hike tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods to 30 percent from 25 percent.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 108.50 points or 1.66 percent to 6,414.60, after touching a low of 6,409.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is lower by 107.70 points or 1.63 percent to 6,506.60.
Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is lower by more than 3 percent, Rio Tinto is declining more than 2 percent and BHP Billiton is losing 2 percent.
Fortescue Metals reported a profit for the full year that nearly tripled from last year and also declared a final dividend that was double what it paid last year.
The big four banks are weak. ANZ Banking is declining more than 2 percent, while Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac are down in a range of 1.4 percent to 1.7 percent.
Among oil stocks, Woodside Petroleum is falling almost 4 percent, Oil Search is declining almost 3 percent and Santos is down almost 2 percent after crude oil prices tumbled on Friday.
Bucking the trend, gold miners are notably higher after a spike in gold prices. Evolution Mining is gaining 11 percent and Newcrest Mining is rising more than 5 percent.
G8 Education recorded a 20 percent fall in first-half profit despite higher revenues, but raised its interim dividend. The childcare centre operator's shares are falling almost 17 percent.
Boral said its full-year profit declined 7 percent from last year and said it will acquire Knauf Asia Plasterboard for $532.5 million as well as take back full ownership of USG Boral Australia & New Zealand. The building materials maker's shares are also losing almost 17 percent.
McGrath recorded a net loss for the second year in a row on lower revenues and did not declare a final dividend. The real estate agency's shares are declining more than 2 percent.
IOOF Holdings reported a 67 percent fall in full-year net profit and cut it's fully franked dividend on remediation costs, but also announced a special dividend. The financial services provider's shares are lower by almost 11 percent.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Monday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6717, down from $0.6753 on Friday.
The Japanese market is falling and the safe-haven yen strengthened following the sharp losses on Wall Street Friday.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 461.41 points or 2.23 percent to 20,249.50, after touching a low of 20,173.76 in early trades. Japanese shares closed higher on Friday.
The major exporters are sharply lower on a stronger safe-haven yen. Panasonic and Canon are losing more than 2 percent each, while Sony and Mitsubishi Electric are declining almost 2 percent each.
In the auto sector, Honda Motor is declining 2 percent and Toyota Motor is lower by almost 2 percent. In the tech space, Advantest is declining almost 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is lower by 3 percent.
Market heavyweight SoftBank and Fast Retailing are falling more than 3 percent each. Among the Japanese stocks with China exposure, Fanuc is falling 4 percent, Hitachi Construction Machinery is lower by almost 3 percent and Komatsu is declining 2 percent.
Oil stocks are also weak after crude oil prices dropped on Friday. Inpex is losing more than 2 percent and Japan Petroleum is down almost 2 percent.
Among the worst performers, Yaskawa Electric is losing more than 6 percent, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is falling almost 5 percent and Tokuyama Corp. is lower by more than 4 percent.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 105 yen-range on Monday.
Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is losing almost 3 percent, while Shanghai, South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia and Taiwan are all lower by more than 1 percent each. Indonesia is declining almost 1 percent.
On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply lower on Friday amid renewed U.S.-China trade concerns after a series of threatening tweets from President Donald Trump. Trump claimed the U.S. does not need China and subsequently ordered American companies to 'immediately start looking for an alternative to China.' The tweets from Trump came after the Chinese Finance Ministry announced plans to impose new tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. imports.
The Dow tumbled 623.34 points or 2.4 percent to 25,628.90, the Nasdaq plummeted 239.62 points or 3 percent to 7,751.77 and the S&P 500 plunged 75.84 points or 2.6 percent to 2,847.11.
The major European markets saw substantial volatility before closing sharply lower on Friday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index slumped by 1.1 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.
Crude oil prices declined sharply on Friday as trade tensions between the U.S. and China escalated, raising concerns over outlook for energy demand. WTI crude oil for October delivery tumbled $1.18 or about 2.1 percent to $54.17 a barrel.
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