Nikkei skids 1.9%
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was one of the biggest laggards in the region on Wednesday, but managed to come off the day’s lows in the final minutes of trading.
Earlier in the session, the Tokyo bourse crashed more than 2 percent to an intra-day low of 17,831, with export-oriented counters among the worst-hit due to renewed strength in the yen.
Dollar-yen last traded at 119.63, as the greenback pulled back amid heightening bets that the Federal Reserve may not raise short-term interest rates until 2016.
Nikon tumbled 5.3 percent after the Nikkei business daily reported that the company’s April-September operating profit likely fell 27 percent to 9.5 billion yen as digital camera sales missed expectations.
Energy plays Inpex and JX Holdings shaved off 2.7 and 1.7 percent respectively, while steel producers were stung by China-related woes, with JFE Holdings and Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal down more than 5 percent each.
Defying the downturn, movie firm Toho surged 3.9 percent following the release of strong earnings guidance on Tuesday.
ASX dips 0.1%
Australia’s S&P ASX 200 index logged a three-session losing streak amid intensifying worries about its top export market, China.
Among casualties in the resources sector, Santos, Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search slumped between 1.6 and 6.8 percent. Fortescue Metals closed down 1.4 percent, while bigger rivals BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto receded 0.7 percent each.
Major lenders found some reprieve after enduring choppy trade throughout the session on the back of news that Westpac will raise A$ 3.5 billion ($ 2.54 billion) to meet new capital rules sparked initial selling in banking shares.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Australia and New Zealand Banking nudged up about half a percent each, while National Australia Bank gained 0.9 percent. Trading in Westpac shares has been halted and is expected to recommence next Monday.
Bucking the downtrend, Domino’s Pizza soared 6.9 percent after the company said it will be enlarging its ambitions in France through the acquisition of Pizza Sprint for around A$ 55.2 million.
In other corporate news, Treasury Wine Estates said on Wednesday it had agreed to buy the majority of Diageo’s U.S. and British wine operations for $ 552 million, while announcing a fully underwritten rights issue to raise around A$ 486 million to fund the acquisition. Shares of the wine maker are halted for trade following the announcement.
Kospi sags 0.5%
South Korea’s Kospi index notched down, with oil-related names battered by falling energy prices.
Brokerages were also sold off; Daewoo Securities and Samsung Securities fell 3.2 and 2.7 percent respectively.
Among winners which helped to limit the bourse’s losses, retailer Shinsegae and cosmetics maker AmorePacific rose more than 1 percent each.