Hong Kong Leads Regional Losses Amid Unrest

Hong Kong stocks declined on Wednesday as a recent escalation in violence amid ongoing protests weighed on investor sentiment.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 plummeted 200.14 points, or 0.9%, to 23,319.87, as shares of index heavyweight Fast Retailing fell 1.8%.

Shares of Japanese automaker Nissan mostly recovered from an earlier plunge of around 4% but still ended the session 0.5% lower. The moves came after the company posted a roughly 70% year-on-year plunge in operating income for the second quarter.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.08 against the U.S. dollar after strengthening from levels above 109.2 yesterday.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index ditched 493.82 points, or 1.8%, to 26,571.46, with shares of life insurer AIA plunging 3.2%.

The moves came after political turmoil in the embattled city escalated this week. Leader Carrie Lam said Tuesday that protesters "paralyzing" the city were selfish. On Monday, protests that started nearly six months ago took another violent turn.

Hong Kong Senior Superintendent Kong Wing-cheung told reporters Tuesday that the city’s society "has been pushed to the brink of a total breakdown."

The Australian dollar was at $0.684 after touching an earlier high of $0.6858.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 reared back 3.71 points, or 0.1%, to 3,899.98

U.S. President Donald Trump told the Economic Club of New York on Tuesday that Beijing wants to make a trade deal, but had scant details on how talks were progressing.

The president also renewed his trade attack, calling China "cheaters," but he blamed the situation on past U.S. leaders.

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex dropped 52.54 points, or 0.5%, to 11,467.83

In Korea, the Kospi deleted 18.47 points, or 0.9%, to 2,122.45

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index subtracted 28.58 points, or 0.9%, to 3,239.22

In Australia, the ASX 200 fell 54.61 points, or 0.8%, to 6,698.36

In New Zealand, the NZX floundered 90.88 points, or 0.8%, to 10,835.43