Asia Sells off, Japan Down 4%

Stocks in Asia-Pacific fell sharply on Friday following an overnight drop on Wall Street as a rapid rise in bond yields rattled investor sentiment.

The Nikkei 225 collapsed 1,202.26 points, or 4%, to 28,966.01,

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group saw its shares plunge 4.5%. The Japanese yen traded at 106.04 per dollar, having weakened from levels below 105.6 against the greenback seen earlier this week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng slumped 1,093.96 points, or 3.6%, to 28,980.21.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese tech firms plummeted on the day: Tencent slipped 4.2%, Xiaomi fell 5.8%, Alibaba dropped 4.5% and Meituan declined 8.2%.

Investor optimism about the economic outlook has risen recently on the back of factors such as positive vaccine developments as multiple major economies inoculate their populations.

In Asia-Pacific, the yield on the Australian 10-year bond slipped to 1.834% after touching a high of 1.973% earlier. The 10-year Japanese government bond’s yield also declined to 0.156%. Earlier, the yield on the 10-year JGB had risen as high as 0.181% — a level not seen since early 2016.

In South Korea, shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics fell 3.3%.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7836, off levels above $0.792 seen earlier in the week.

In other markets

In China, the CSI 300 dropped 132.8 points, or 2.4%, to 5,336.26.

In Taiwan, the Taiex index deducted 498.38 points, or 3%, to 15,953.80.

In Singapore, the Straits Times index lost 24.5 points, or 0.8%, to 2,949.04.

In Korea, the Kospi slid 86.74 points, or 2.8%, to 3,012.95

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 regained 86.63 points, or 0.7%, to 12,227.29.

In Australia, the ASX 200 slouched 160.76 points, or 2.4%, to 6,673.27