Asia Tumbles Following U.S. Selloff

Asian shares closed lower on Friday, taking cues from U.S. indexes which extended sharp losses in the last session.

The Nikkei 225 average in Japan dumped 508.24 points, or 2.3%, to 21,382.62, with losses seen in most sectors.

Automakers, financials, manufacturers and technology stocks ended the session firmly in negative territory. Among blue chips, Toyota sank 1.1%, Fanuc Manufacturing lost 4% and Fast Retailing was down 3.7% at the end of the day.

The Nikkei 225 was in correction territory, having declined around 12% from its 52-week high as of Friday morning.

Against the yen, the U.S. dollar edged up to trade at 108.97.

The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong plummeted 943.85 points, or 3.1%, to 29,507.42

Before the market close in Hong Kong, heavily-weighted financials HSBC and China Construction Bank lost 0.9% and 4.3%, respectively.

Property developers also saw significant declines: China Evergrande Group dropped 5.8% and Country Garden fell 6.1%. Tech giant Tencent traded lower by 2.4%.

Korean markets staggered, with most sectors closing the day in negative territory.

Tech heavyweight Samsung Electronics was down 2.8% on the day. The stock was also not helped by news on Thursday that prosecutors had conducted a search on the company's offices as part of a probe into former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

Australian markets suffered, with all sectors but gold producers in the red. The energy sector led losses, falling 2.1%, while the heavily weighted financials sub-index was down 0.5%.

The declines in Asia mirrored the showing from U.S. stocks, which plummeted once again on Thursday as investors worried about higher U.S. bond yields.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 dropped 171.4 points, or 4.3%, to 3,840.65

Major mainland insurers underperformed the broader market, with Ping An Insurance Group losing 6.6%. China Life Insurance closed down 6.2%

The People's Bank of China on Friday announced it released nearly two trillion yuan ($316.28 billion U.S.) in liquidity to meet cash demand ahead of the Lunar New Year.

Meanwhile, data released on Friday showed the consumer price index rose 1.5% in January compared to one year ago, which was in line with forecasts. Meanwhile, the producer price index rose 4.3% on year, a touch below the 4.4% projected.

In other markets

The Kospi in Korea fell 43.85 points, or 1.8%, to 2,363.77

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index moved lower 156.77 points, or 1.5%, to 10,371.75

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index backtracked 38.66 points, or 1.1%, to 3,377.24

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 slipped 84.77 points, or 1%, to 8,092.37

The ASX 200 slouched 52.73 points, or 0.9%, to 5,837.97