Asian shares shrug off tech-led selloff on Wall Street

By AP News


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BANGKOK (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher Friday after a historic plunge in the stock price of Facebook’s parent company helped yank other tech stocks lower on Wall Street.

A currency trader watches monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. Asian shares were mixed Friday after a historic plunge in the stock price of Facebook’s parent company helped yank other tech stocks lower on Wall Street. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher Friday after a historic plunge in the stock price of Facebook’s parent company helped yank other tech stocks lower on Wall Street.

Hong Kong jumped 2.6% after reopening from Lunar New Year holidays. Shanghai remained closed. Tokyo and Seoul advanced while Sydney was lower. Other regional markets were higher.

Thursday’s retreat in New York ended a four-day winning streak for the market.

The 26.4% wipeout in Meta Platforms , as Facebook’s owner is now known, erased more than $230 billion in market value, easily the biggest one-day loss in history for a U.S. company. The stocks of other social media companies including Twitter and Snap also fell.

Because Meta is valued so highly, a big swing in its stock price can also sink or lift broader market indexes. The S&P 500 fell 2.4%, its biggest drop in nearly a year, to 4,477.44.

The tech-focused Nasdaq composite gave up 3.7%, its biggest loss since September 2020, closing at 13,878.82. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which does not include Meta Platforms, fell 1.5% to 35,111.16.

Small company stocks also fell. The Russell 2000 index lost 38.48 points, or 1.9%, to 1,991.03.

But Asian markets were little affected.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 607 points to 24,391.85. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo edged less than 0.1% higher, to 27,269.22. South Korea's Kospi advanced 0.8% to 2,728.00. In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.1% to 7,068.30.

Trading has been muted this week, with Chinese markets closed and coronavirus cases still surging in Asia, especially in Japan and Hong Kong,

Investors are watching for the latest update on the recovering U.S. jobs market. The Labor Department will release its monthly report for January on Friday.

On Wall Street, Meta sank after forecasting revenue well below analysts’ expectations for the current quarter following privacy changes by Apple and increased competition from TikTok. It was a disappointment for a company that investors have become accustomed to delivering spectacular growth. Meta also reported a rare decline in profit due to a sharp increase in expenses as it invests in transforming itself into a virtual reality-based company.

The steep drop weighed on fellow social media company Twitter, which fell 5.6%. Snapchat's parent company Snap sank 23.6% and Pinterest lost 10.3%. Snap soared 54% and Pinterest vaulted 28% in after-market trading after each reported better-than-expected results. jumped 18% in after-hours trading after reporting strong fourth-quarter results despite supply chain snags.

Big technology and communications companies played a big role in driving gains for the broader market throughout the pandemic and much of the recovery in 2021. But investors have been shifting money in expectation of rising interest rates, which make shares in high-flying tech companies and other expensive growth stocks relatively less attractive.

Bond yields rose sharply on Thursday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which is used as a benchmark to set interest rates on mortgages and many other kinds of loans, rose to 1.84% from 1.76% late Wednesday.

The Federal Reserve is planning its first interest rate hike in March, aiming to tamp down inflation that has surged to 40-year highs. Those higher costs will likely persist until supply chains loosen and help ease costs for businesses and perhaps lower prices for consumers.

In Europe, the Bank of England raised interest rates for the second time in three months on Thursday, moving more quickly to tame inflation than the Fed and the European Central Bank. Meanwhile, the head of the ECB said record inflation could linger for “longer than expected” and appeared to open the door ever so slightly for a rate increase this year. Stock markets in Europe fell.

Spotify slumped 16.8% after the leading music-streaming service gave investors a weak forecast for a closely watched measure of its earnings. The company has come under pressure after Neil Young pulled his music from its platform to protest the spreading of COVID-19 misinformation by Spotify's star podcaster, Joe Rogan. Other musicians have followed.

Wall Street's major indexes are still on track for weekly gains, helped by strong earnings reports from companies like Apple, Exxon, UPS and Google’s parent Alphabet.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil picked up 56 cents to $90.83 per gallon after surging $2.01 to $90.27 per gallon on Thursday.

Brent crude, the basis for pricing international oils, added 39 cents to $91.50 per gallon.

The U.S. dollar slipped to 114.95 Japanese yen from 114.96 yen late Thursday. The euro rose to $1.1469 from $1.1437.


AP Business Writers Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga contributed.


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