Japanese shares fell on Wednesday, with heavyweight Fast Retailing Co. falling after issuing a downbeat sales report, although Australian stocks were lifted by gains for banks and energy companies.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average JP:NIK -0.84 percent edged down 0.3 percent, reversing from opening gains, while South Korea’s Kospi KR:0100 -1.88 percent lost 0.4 percent but Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index AU:XJO +0.83 percent climbed 1.2 percent.
Markets in Hong Kong and mainland China were closed for holidays.
Losses since the start of the week have ranged from 2.3 percent for the Australian index to 4 percent for the Korean benchmark.
European and US stocks were under pressure as well this week, although Tuesday saw a sharp, late-day turnaround on Wall Street. Read more on Tuesday’s US market action.
“It was certainly looking like another dour day for US equities with markets on track to register losses between 1 percent and 2 percent, before reports surfaced that E.U. finance ministers were examining ways of coordinating recapitalisation of financial institutions, having agreed more needed to be done to shore up the region’s banks,” said analysts at IG Markets.
Asia-based banks have seen selling lately on fear that Europe’s debt woes will spill over into global funding markets and make finance more difficult to obtain, and some lenders gained on Wednesday following news of possible bank recapitalisation.
Shares of National Australia Bank Ltd AU:NAB +1.17 percent NAUBF +0.31 percent rose 2.3 percent, while Macquarie Group Ltd AU:MQG +0.77 percent MQBKY -1.62 percent gained 1.7 percent.
Energy and mineral extractors, which are sensitive to perceptions of economic growth trends, also saw some buying Wednesday, with mining giant Rio Tinto Ltd AU:RIO +2.25 percent RIO -3.50 percent up 2.5 percent in Sydney, and JX Holdings Inc. JP:5020 +1.24 percent JXHGF 0.00 percent up 1.2 percent in Tokyo.
Several exporters also advanced after losses in recent sessions, with Japan’s Honda Motor Co. JP:7267 -0.14 percent HMC +0.49 percent up 1.6 percent and Korea’s Hynix Semiconductor Inc. up 2.9 percent.
Shares of Fast Retailing Co. JP:9983 -4.60 percent FRCOF +1.83 percent dropped 4 percent in Tokyo on Wednesday after the owner of the Uniqlo clothing chain said that its same-store sales fell 10.7 percent in September compared to the same period a year ago.
But retailer Seven & I Holdings Co. JP:3382 +0.59 percent SVNDF -2.07 percent gained 0.5 percent after reporting a rise in second-quarter profit and hiking its outlook for the year.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. JP:9501 -10.00 percent TKECY +12.54 percent, the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, saw selling pressure amid uncertainty over payment of compensation to victims of radiation leaks earlier this year. Shares of the utility traded down 7 percent. -By Sarah Turner