Tech stocks, North Korea tensions drag Asian markets down
By Kenan Machado
Chinese firms follow slide by U.S. tech stocks
Equity markets in Asia were lower on Tuesday, hurt by fresh threats from North Korea and weakness among key technology stocks.
North Korea's foreign minister warned overnight that his country would shoot down U.S. warplanes even if they were outside the nation's airspace.
The White House dismissed assertions about war and the Pentagon brushed off the military threat.
In South Korea, the Kospi trimmed early declines but it was still down 0.1% after ending lower for five straight sessions on Monday. Samsung Electronics (005930.SE) was down 1.4% and Korean Air Lines (003490.SE) was 1.9% lower.
"The markets are cautious but yet to fully price in a flare up in military conflict," said Ivan Ip, a stock strategist at UOB Group. Trading sentiment was already bearish, given the Federal Reserve's plans to taper its balance sheet which should lead to tighter liquidity, he said.
Following an overnight slide in U.S. internet stocks, including Chinese firms like Baidu (BIDU) and Alibaba Group Holding (BABA) , Hong Kong heavyweight Tencent Holdings (0700.HK) was down as much as 3.8% at the open. The weakness dragged the Hang Seng Index down 0.7% initially, though it was recently up 0.1%.