Asian stocks pull back on US tech declines, eurozone worries – MarketWatch

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Stock selling eased in the Asia-Pacific region Wednesday after overnight declines in the U.S. and Europe on worries the European Central Bank would reduce monetary stimulus.

ECB chief Mario Draghi hinted at a reduction of its ultra-easy policies as the continent’s economy has shown signs of acceleration this year.

“As the eurozone recovery continues to gather momentum, markets are gradually turning their view to the growing likelihood of a change in policy stance,” said Rob Carnell, an economist at ING.

The comments sent equities and the dollar lower, with the euro jumping the most versus the greenback in a year. Sovereign-debt yields also jumped.

But lower bond prices are good news for the likes of Japanese insurers, who are heavy buyers of such securities, and higher yields help pay for future claims. Dai-ichi Life 8750, +1.50%   and T&D Holdings 8795, +1.62%   each rose 2%.

Also amid a falling yen overnight, the Nikkei Stock Average NIK, -0.31%   fell 0.1%, less than the declines seen overnight in other major global stock indexes.

Elsewhere, benchmarks in Korea SEU, -0.15%   and New Zealand NZ50GR, -0.05%   also eased 0.1% after hitting record highs Tuesday.

Taiwan stocks lagged behind in the wake of fresh selling in U.S. technology companies. Taiwan’s market, which heavily skews toward tech, was hit by near-2% declines for the likes of Alphabet GOOGL, -2.47%  , Microsoft MSFT, -1.87%   and Amazon AMZN, -1.73%  .

Meanwhile, global equities were also hit as Fed officials appeared coordinated in hinting that asset valuations look elevated, investment bank OCBC said, with selling pressure in tech stocks continuing to dominate the agenda.

Catcher Technology 2474, -2.15%  , Wistron 3231, -1.72%   and Taiwan Semiconductor 2330, -1.42%   all fell slightly more than 1%, helping push Taiwan’s Taiex Y9999, -0.99%   down 0.7%. Elsewhere, the Kospi’s IT subindex slid 0.9%.

Elsewhere, oil prices are on the rebound in Asia after having initially shed half of Tuesday’s gains following the release of downbeat U.S. inventory estimates from an industry group. Benchmark U.S. oil futures fell back below $43.70 a barrel on the disclosure from the American Petroleum Institute but were recently at $44.07, down 0.4% from Tuesday’s settlement.

And while Asian sovereign-debt markets followed the overnight selling caused by Draghi’s comments, moves were more muted in Japan, where the central bank has an explicit target to keep 10-year yields around zero as part of its stimulative monetary policy.

In Australia, the 10-year yield rose to 2.44% from 2.371% late Tuesday, according to Thomson Reuters data, while Korea’s 10-year climbed to 2.148% from 2.119%.

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