Asian Shares Mostly Higher, Defying Facebook-Led Tech Slump

A woman walks Friday past an electronic board showing Hong Kong share index outside a bank in Hong Kong. Photo: Kin Cheung / Associated Press
A woman walks Friday past an electronic board showing Hong Kong share index outside a bank in Hong Kong. Photo: Kin Cheung / Associated Press

BANGKOK — Asian shares were mostly higher early Friday as investors shrugged off Facebook’s nearly USD$120 billion overnight plunge in market value, the biggest-ever one-day loss in dollar value for a U.S. company.


Keeping Score

Thailand’s SET traded at 1,701.87 on Friday afternoon, a 0.7 percent gain. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index added 0.3 percent to 22,648.67 and the Kospi in South Korea edged 0.1 percent higher to 2,290.98. The Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.1 percent to 2,880.51 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was little changed at 28.769.49. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 jumped 0.7 percent to 6,289.30. Shares gained in Taiwan and Indonesia but were lower in Singapore.



Wall Street

Facebook’s tumble, brought on by its warning to investors that it sees slower revenue growth ahead, led a decline in technology shares and snapped a three-day winning streak for the S&P 500 index, which lost 0.3 percent to 2,837.44. The Nasdaq composite index, which is heavily weighted with technology companies, lost 80.05 points, or 1 percent, to 7,852.18. But broader gains in industrial, energy and consumer goods companies helped offset those losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, whose 30 members don’t include Facebook, had a much better day, rising 0.4 percent to 25,527.07. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 0.6 percent to 1,695.36. More stocks rose than fell on the New York Stock Exchange.



The agreement between President Donald Trump and a European delegation to work on a pact to dismantle trade barrier inspired fresh optimism among investors that trade tensions between the U.S and European Union may be on the mend. But it’s worrying for Asian trading partners, especially China, which could lose leverage with Washington in its own disputes, especially over its imports of soybeans.



The Bank of Japan is due to hold a policy meeting early next week that some analysts believe could bring at least minor changes to the longstanding ultra-lax monetary policy for the world’s third-largest economy. Sustained relatively strong growth has raised expectations that the central bank may need to consider further tempering its massive purchases of government bonds and other assets.


Analyst’s Viewpoint

“The Bank of Japan has a mandate to focus on financial stability as well as inflation. Some argue that sustained ultra-loose policy could generate unwelcome financial risks and so it should be reversed even if inflation remains well below target,” Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics said in a commentary. But he added, “it would take far more than a further few months of stronger wage or inflation data to convince us that a change in stance was a possibility in the next couple of years.”



Benchmark U.S. crude rose 4 cents to $69.65 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It picked up 31 cents to settle at $69.61 per barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 6 cents to $75.18. It added 61 cents in London to close at $74.54.




The dollar slipped to 110.98 yen from 111.23 yen on Thursday. The euro rose to $1.1652 from $1.1645.

Story: Elaine Kurtenbach