ASIA MARKETS: China Equities Stumble Amid Bond Sell Off, Taking A Toll On Asian Stocks

By Ese Erheriene Features Dow Jones Newswires

New Zealand stocks hit fresh record-closing high

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The pullback in Chinese equities helped pare some early gains in Asia on Monday, but end-of-the-week gains in U.S. technology stocks supported broad gains elsewhere in the region.

Equity benchmarks in mainland China remained solidly lower in afternoon trading, though the losses narrowed somewhat, as concerns about the Chinese bond market and a greater-than-expected number of initial public offering approvals over the weekend saw investors cutting down their holdings.

"Investors appear to be spooked by the bond selloff this morning in the Chinese market," said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG Group . "With China's 19th party congress now over and the focus back on the authorities' deleveraging intent, the equities market appears to be bearing the brunt of the move in yields."

The Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.9%, after falling as much as 1.7%, while the main Shenzhen index was down 1.9%. After opening higher, Hong Kong stocks bobbed between gains and losses as mainland stocks fell. The Hang Seng as last down 0.1%.

Besides bonds, traders also blamed an unexpected jump in IPO approvals over the weekend. Regulators approved 9.5 billion yuan ($1.43 billion) of deals, double recent levels.

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Haitong Securities said that while it considers an upward trend to remain intact for the medium term, it sees the recent drop in Chinese bonds as a warning sign of a stock pullback. It also flagged potential further regulatory tightening and a weaker yuan as possible risks.

Still, the China declines were likely to be short-lived, some analysts said.

"When growth is OK equities tend to do OK, so I would say this is just a temporary setback," said Hao Hong, managing director and head of research at BOCOM International.

Meanwhile, after opening higher, the Nikkei Stock Average reversed midmorning losses and was recently flat. Selling pressure is strong, after the benchmark index logged seven straight weeks of gains. The yen, which firmed against the dollar throughout the session, contributed to the lackluster trading. The Japanese currency was last up 0.1% versus the greenback..

Elsewhere, solid earnings from tech giants Amazon (AMZN) and Alphabet (GOOGL) , among others, supported record closes in the Nasdaq Composite Index and the S&P 500 on Friday. Asia markets that are tech-heavy outperformed, with Taiwan's Taiex rising 1.2% in early trade, though gains narrowed to about 0.4%. Korea's Kospi was up 0.1%.

Read:Why stock-market bulls should be wary of rising tide of earnings shenanigans (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-stock-market-bulls-should-be-wary-of-rising-tide-of-earnings-shenanigans-2017-10-28)

Among other tech names, Sharp (6753.TO) traded up 1% in Tokyo and Samsung Electronics (005930.SE) rose 1.5% in Seoul. In Taiwan, Apple suppliers Hon Hai Precision (2317.TW), also known as Foxconn, gained 1.8% while Largan Precision (3008.TW) surged 4.2%.

In other indexes, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 closed up 0.3%, while Singapore's Straits Times Index was last off 0.1%. New Zealand's benchmark added 0.7% to hit a fresh record closing high, after falling for the prior three sessions.

In commodities, oil prices held on to gains following Friday's 2% advance, following comments from Saudi Arabia's crown prince suggesting the production-cut agreement by members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries should be extended.

More broadly, investor focus this week will likely remain on third-quarter earnings results, as well as major central bank news, and key data from the U.S. and China, noted OCBC Bank . U.S. President Donald Trump was also poised to name a new head of the Federal Reserve this week (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-to-announce-fed-pick-next-week-white-houses-sanders-says-2017-10-27) to replace Janet Yellen.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 30, 2017 02:33 ET (06:33 GMT)