Major Asia-Pacific Equity Markets Are Slightly Lower

By Kenan Machado Features Dow Jones Newswires

Asia-Pacific equities experienced fresh selling Wednesday following modest overnight declines in Europe and the U.S., as commodity prices added to ongoing softness.

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While tech stocks were key to Tuesday's weakness in Asia, the latest pullback was helped by yesterday's slide in metals prices. Gold and copper, for example, fell 1% to 2%.

The Nikkei was 0.5% lower early Wednesday, with the Topix mining subindex down 2% and the iron and steel group off 1.7%. That pullback bled into oil stocks; Inpex dropped 2%.

Old-economy stocks weighed in China, where the Shanghai Composite fell 0.6%. The Shenzhen Composite, which has a greater tech profile, was slightly higher.

Meanwhile, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was just 0.2% lower despite declines of about 1.5% for Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. The country's big banks rebounded about 0.5%.

In addition, the Australian dollar fell to session lows, reversing Tuesday's gains, as third-quarter economic growth of 2.8% wasn't as robust as analysts expected. That means it could be a while before the Reserve Bank of Australia begins raising rates.

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In currencies, the U.S. dollar edged back to Yen112.45 on Wednesday from Yen112.60 when equities trading ended in Tokyo on Tuesday. Auto makers Mazda Motor and Toyota Motor fell about 1%.

In Tokyo, Apple vendor Alps Electric fell 1.5% and semiconductor-equipment maker Samco dropped 2%. Meanwhile, Taiwan's Taiex opened down 0.5% and Korea's Kospi fell 0.3%.

Following tech-driven stock gains this year, investors have become skittish about tax implications from U.S. legislation, said Douglas Morton, head of research for Asia at Northern Trust Capital Markets. But "little has changed fundamentally in our opinion."

Still, there has been caution this week as Republicans continue work on tax policy.

Elsewhere, oil was down modestly and U.S. gasoline futures fell 1% after an industry group said inventories jumped in America last week.

Write to Kenan Machado at kenan.machado@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 05, 2017 20:57 ET (01:57 GMT)