Investing.com-- Most Asian markets fell on Friday as weak economic data from Japan fueled more concerns over slowing growth, while the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates and worsening Sino-U.S. relations dented technology shares.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 and TOPIX indexes were the worst performers in Asia, sinking 1% and 0.7%, respectively, after data showed Japan’s economy grew less than initially estimated in the second quarter .
The weak reading indicated that continued stimulus measures from the Bank of Japan may not be supporting growth as much as initially expected, dampening investor sentiment towards local stocks.
Expectations of easy monetary conditions in Japan had driven strong outperformance in local shares earlier this week, putting the TOPIX at 33-year highs. But local stocks reversed a bulk of recent gains on Friday.
Asian tech hit by Apple losses, U.S.-China ructions
Regional tech stocks saw extended losses after Beijing banned government employees from using Apple Inc's (NASDAQ: AAPL ) iPhone. The move sparked sharp losses in Apple’s shares, as well as the iPhone maker’s regional suppliers.
Chipmaking giant TSMC (NYSE: TSM ) (TW: 2330 ) fell nearly 1% in Taiwan trade, while memory chips makers SK Hynix Inc (KS: 000660 ) and Samsung Electronics (KS: 005930 ) lost 3.6% and 0.7%, respectively. Japanese suppliers Tokyo Electron Ltd. (TYO: 8035 ) and Japan Display Inc (TYO: 6740 ) lost 4% and 2.5%, respectively, while China’s Luxshare Precision Industry (SZ: 002475 ) shed 3%.
Broader Asian technology stocks were also hit by calls from U.S. lawmakers for a complete ban on tech exports to China, after two firms- namely Huawei and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (HK: 0981 )- allegedly breached U.S. trade restrictions.
The move, coupled with Beijing’s recent restrictions on Apple, ramped up concerns over worsening trade ties between the world’s largest economies, which could see the start of a renewed trade war.
South Korea’s KOSPI fell 0.4%, while the Taiwan Weighted index shed 0.3%. Broader sentiment towards tech came under pressure from renewed concerns over higher U.S. interest rates, following strong inflation and labor data readings this week.
China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes slid 0.8% and 0.5%, respectively, extending losses after a string of weak economic readings this week. Trading in Hong Kong was suspended as the city grappled with severe rainfall and flooding in the wake of Typhoon Haikui.
Concerns over China pulled Australia ASX 200 down 0.4%, while also weighing on broader Asian markets.
Indian stocks key outliers this week, head for strong gains
Both indexes were buoyed by strength in banks and energy stocks this week, as well as renewed buying into small and mid-cap stocks. Recent signs of economic resilience in India, following a stellar June quarter GDP report , kept investors largely positive towards the country.
The Nifty also cleared a key resistance level this week, ramping up optimism over further gains.
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