Asia Plummets as Oil Extends Losses

The cautious sentiment from the last session continued through Asia's Wednesday trading day, with major Asian indexes closing lower. Energy-related plays in the region, in particular, fell on weakening oil prices.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 collapsed 351.69 points, or 1.6%, to 22,028.32, closing lower for the sixth straight session.

Most sectors fell, with energy-related stocks recording steep losses as oil prices declined further: Inpex tumbled 3.7% and Japan Petroleum Exploration sank 4.2% by the end of the day.

The Hang Seng Index wilted 300.43 points, or 1%, to 28,851.69

Wednesday data showed the Japanese economy grew at a 1.4% annualized rate in the third quarter, topping the 1.3% forecast. Gross Domestic Product rose 0.3% in that period, compared to the three months prior.

In Korea, blue-chip tech stocks edged down and automakers were mixed: Samsung Electronics closed down 1% and Hyundai Motor rose 0.6%

In Australia, energy stocks dragged on the broader market after oil prices declined: Beach Energy tumbled 3.6% and Santos lost 2.2% on the day. Resource stocks also ended the session in the red after economic data from China on Tuesday missed expectations.

Shares of Hon Hai Precision Industry fell 2.8% by the end of the day after the company reported that its third-quarter profit slid 39% compared to the year before. The fall in quarterly earnings was due to delays in product shipments.

Japanese banks were also in the spotlight after Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group reported quarterly earnings on Tuesday. Of note, several of Japan's largest banks said they would be cutting costs by reducing headcount or turning to automation. Financials broadly traded lower: MUFG closed down 0.8%, SMFG fell 1.5% and Mizuho Financial lost 1.4% by the end of the session.

The Australian dollar touched as low as $0.7573 U.S. during the session after data showed wages rose 0.5% in the third quarter, below the 0.7% expected by markets. The Aussie dollar last traded at $0.7589, compared to levels around the $0.76 handle seen earlier.

In other markets

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 lost 25.68 points, or 0.6%, to 4,073.67

In Korea, the Kospi index fell 8.39 points, or 0.3%, to 2,518.25

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index slumped 56.53 points, or 0.5%, to 10,630.65

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index dropped 30.39 points, or 0.9%, to 3,368.70

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 subtracted 8.06 points, or 0.1%, to 7,999.94

In Australia, the ASX 200 retreated 34.51 points, or 0.6%, to 5,934.24