Asian stock markets follow Wall Street lower

BBC News
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Stock markets in Asia were in negative territory on Wednesday, following declines on Wall Street after the Dow Jones closed down 1%.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index dropped 1.2% to 20,590.97 points.

Trading saw investors reacting to the resignation of Toshiba chief executive Hisao Tanaka following the company’s accounting scandal.

Shares in the firm fell 1.7% after their 6% rise the previous day when the details of the scandal were revealed.

An independent investigation had found the company overstating its profits by a total of 151.8bn yen ($1.22bn, £780m) over the past six years.

In Australia, low commodity and gold prices helped pull the ASX 200 index down 1.1% to 20,618.4 points.

BHP Billiton fell 1.4% despite the company saying it exceeded its production guidance for iron ore.

In its operational review, the mining giant also said it was on track for additional growth in the current year.

Meanwhile, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that inflation in the second quarter rose by 0.7% from the first three months of the year.

More importantly though, the annual pace of core inflation at around 2.3% was still well within the central bank’s inflation target of 2-3%..

The data provided further evidence that underlying price pressures were easing, Daniel Martin, Senior Asia Economist with Capital Economics said in a note.

“It raises the chances of the central bank cutting rates again, possibly even at its meeting next month.”

In Seoul, South Korea’s benchmark Kospi was also in negative territory, down 1% to 2,062.42 points.

Despite the won being at its weakest level against the dollar in two years, export-focused companies failed to benefit.

Car makers Kia and Hyundai were both unable to consolidate Tuesday’s gains.

In China, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.4% to 4,000.79 points while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell by 1.1% to 25,251.10 points in line with the Asia-wide sell-off.

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