Asia Markets: Stock markets across Asia slip, led by Hong Kong


Asian stock markets largely dropped in early trading Monday following declines on Wall Street on Friday.

Japan’s Nikkei NIK, -0.74%   was off 0.5% even as the yen was barely higher versus other currencies. Japanese pharmaceutical company Eisai’s shares 4523, -5.04%   continued to take a beating, falling 4.2% as it continued to drop after the U.S. FDA said last week that more testing was needed for a closely watched Alzheimer’s drug. Its shares are still up 25% for the month.

The end of Australia’s housing boom and New Zealand’s migration boom means that economic growth in both countries will probably fall short of expectations over the next couple of years, Capital Economics said. Australia may struggle to grow by much more than 2.5% a year, while GDP growth in New Zealand will probably weaken from close to 3.0% last year to about 2.0% next year. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.43%   was off 0.5% following Friday’s 10½-year closing high, while New Zealand’s benchmark NZ50GR, -0.83%   dropped 0.5%.

In China, the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.31%   was down slightly, on pace for its fourth straight decline, while the Shenzhen Composite 399106, -1.36%   fell 1.1%. Meanwhile, troubled vaccine maker Changsheng 002680, -5.00%   logged a 10th-straight drop while peer Kangtai 300601, -0.25%   bounced as high as 1.9% after previously hitting a three-month low.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng HSI, -0.70%   was down nearly 1%, as Tencent 0700, -2.57%   again dragged with a 2% decline to continue its July pullback ahead of the firm’s second-quarter earnings report in August. Orient Overseas 0316, +4.83%   trading was halted to start the week as the company’s takeover process moves on. The US$6.3 billion deal with Chinese rival Cosco Shipping 600428, +1.10%   won acceptance from Orient shareholders. In order to keep the company’s stock listing, Cosco is selling a 15% stake. Meanwhile, Bocom lowered Orient’s earnings forecast, and is now predicting a 25% drop in 2018 EPS. “The unsettled US-China trade feud remains an overarching concern” for the company, the bank said. Orient plans to resume trading on or around Aug. 17.

Korea’s Kospi SEU, -0.13%   pared early losses and was last trading nearly flat, despite losses by Samsung 005930, -0.96%   and SK Hynix 000660, -0.23%  .

Indexes in Singapore STI, -0.55%  , Malaysia FBMKLCI, -0.06%   and Taiwan Y9999, -0.38%  all fell.

Providing critical information for the U.S. trading day. Subscribe to MarketWatch’s free Need to Know newsletter. Sign up here.