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Asian stocks fall as Meta sparks renewed tech rout


Investing.com– Most Asian stocks fell on Thursday, with technology shares tracking losses in their Wall Street peers following disappointing guidance from internet giant Meta Platforms, while fears of higher-for-longer U.S. interest rates remained in play. 

U.S. stock index futures fell sharply in Asian trade, with losses geared towards the tech-heavy Nasdaq as Meta and its peers sank in after-hours trading. Meta (NASDAQ:META) slid 15% after it forecast softer-than-expected second-quarter revenue on increased costs on artificial intelligence.

This raised concerns over just how much earnings potential AI held for technology companies, given that it also came with much higher costs. Meta’s outlook set a dour tone for upcoming earnings from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL). 

Japan’s Nikkei 225 slides on tech losses, BOJ awaited 

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was the worst performer in Asia, down 1.8% on losses in heavyweight technology stocks. 

The broader TOPIX fell 1.1%, as sentiment towards Japanese markets was also dented by anticipation of a Bank of Japan meeting on Friday.

While the BOJ is widely expected to keep interest rates unchanged after a historic hike in March, markets were wary of any hawkish signals on inflation, especially following recent signs of improved wage growth and resilience in the Japanese economy. 

Tokyo consumer inflation is also due on Friday, and is expected to show a mild pick-up in inflation through April. 

South Korea’s KOSPI down as tech jitters offset strong earnings, GDP 

South Korea’s KOSPI fell 1% on Thursday, weighed by losses in technology stocks as a weak lead-in from Wall Street largely offset positive earnings and economic data.

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Memory chip maker SK Hynix Inc (KS:000660) sank 3.3% despite clocking substantially stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings on AI fueled demand. But the chipmaker also forecast increased expenses as it ramps up output to meet an expected jump in demand.

Peer Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (KS:005930) fell 1.9%. The two stocks are by far the biggest on the KOSPI. 

Weakness in tech stocks offset optimism over gross domestic product data showing the South Korean economy grew 1.3% in the first quarter, more than twice as expected. 

Other Asian markets were somewhat mixed. China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes fell slightly, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index extended a rebound to hit five-month highs. 

Futures for India’s Nifty 50 index pointed to a muted open, as sentiment towards the country cooled before its 2024 general elections, which begin on Friday. The incumbent BJP party is expected to clinch a third consecutive term.

Australian markets were closed for a holiday.

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