Rally in Asia Stalls After Wall Street’s Wild Ride

The rebound in Asian markets stalled on Wednesday as several indexes in the region gave up early gains to finish the session in negative territory, after major U.S. indexes finished their Tuesday session higher.

The Nikkei 225 average in Japan recovered 35.13 points, or 0.2%, from the pounding of the past few days to 21,645.37, as investors stayed defensive following last session's tumble.

The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong shed another 272.22 points, or 0.9%, to 30,323.20

Automakers and technology names were broadly higher following broad-based declines seen in the last session: Toyota rose 1.2% Sony gained 1.5% and SoftBank Group soared 3.8% by the end of the session. Among other blue chips, Fanuc Manufacturing closed down 2% and Fast Retailing declined 1.4%.

Elsewhere, Japan's SoftBank Group announced on Wednesday that third-quarter operating profit declined 2.8% compared to one year ago. The company also said in a release that it had begun preparations to list shares of its Japanese telecommunications unit, SoftBank Corporation.

In Hong Kong, tech giant Tencent clung to gains, climbing 1.2% ahead of the market close, but other index heavyweights fared less well: Developer China Evergrande Group slid 2% and China Unicom fell 2.7%

Trade in the shares of Wynn Macau was halted on Wednesday, the Hong Kong stock exchange said in a notice. The trading halt follows earlier allegations of sexual misconduct against casino mogul Steve Wynn. Wynn Resorts later announced it would be accepting Wynn's resignation as chief executive and chairman of the company.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese banks were also in negative territory before the close, with China Construction Bank and Bank of China lower by 1.9% and 1.4%, respectively.

In Korea, shares of tech heavyweight Samsung Electronics tumbled 3.4%, dragging on the broader index. Other tech names were mixed at the end of the day, with SK Hynix advancing 1.3%

Losses were also seen in the manufacturing, finance, energy sectors. Steelmaker Posco closed down 2.7% and Lotte Shopping tumbled 6.1%.

Over in Sydney, energy and materials stocks led gains. Among major miners, Rio Tinto and BHP tacked on 3.8% and 1.8% respectively.

Energy-related stocks edged up: Santos advanced 1.6% and Beach Energy climbed 4.8%

Gold producers were the worst-performers on the day, with the sector declining 2%

Shares of Commonwealth Bank of Australia slipped 0.8% by the end of the day after the bank reported on Wednesday that cash profit in the six months ending Dec. 21 shrank 1.9% to 4.74 million Australian dollars ($3.74 million U.S). Also mentioned in the statement was the the A$575 million ($454 million U.S) in expenses related to a money-laundering lawsuit incurred by the bank. Australia's other "Big Four" banks also closed in negative territory, but saw less significant losses.

Meanwhile, Premier Investments, the largest shareholder of Myer Holdings, called for a meeting to vote on removing the retailer's board. In a release, Premier Investments said it was not in the best interest of shareholders for Myer's existing board to "preside over another year of declining sales, eroding profits and further share price deterioration." Myer shares closed down 2.3%.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 dropped 98.39 points, or 2.4%, to 4,050.50

Mainland financial stocks took a beating and were among the worst-performing sectors on Wednesday: Shares of Bank of China listed in Shanghai fell 3.6% and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China lost 5.9% by the end of the day. Among insurers, Ping An Insurance Group finished the session down 3.3%.

In other markets

The Kospi in Korea subtracted 56.75 points, or 2.3%, to 2,396.56

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index recouped 147.54 points, or 1.4%, to 10,551.54

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index slid 22.61 points, or 0.7%, to 3,383.77

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 returned from holiday to lose 47.1 points, or 0.6%, to 8,194.73

The ASX 200 regained 43.47 points, or 0.8%, to 5,876.81