Asian markets tumble after disappointing US earnings

A pedestrian rides an escalator at the Singapore Exchange Ltd (SGX) headquarters in Singapore. (Bloomberg pic)

HONG KONG: Asian markets tumbled Friday after disappointing US earnings and a bearish outlook on hopes for a Fed rate cut weighed on Wall Street overnight.

Tesla and American Airlines both suffered bruising declines after posting quarterly results, while Amazon reported a slowdown in earnings growth as it ramped up one-day delivery operations.

American stocks had been bolstered in recent weeks by expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates next week.

But strong American economic data, including Thursday’s report showing an increase in durable goods sales in June, has investors fearing a less dovish Fed announcement.

“Markets are getting nervous that Fed could disappoint next week,” said OANDA senior market analyst Edward Moya.

Recent data also showed that Washington’s long-running trade war with Beijing was “not having a terrible impact” on the American economy, he added, tempering hopes of a sizeable rate cut.

Tokyo was down 0.5% at close as investors went into profit-taking mode ahead of the weekend, ending a three-day winning streak.

Beleaguered automaker Nissan was off 3.2% after announcing a 95% plunge in quarterly net profit and the shedding of 12,500 jobs on Thursday.

Chip-testing equipment maker Advantest also edged lower after a 20.2% surge Thursday on better-than-expected quarterly earnings.

But Japan’s SoftBank Group rose 1.1% after it announced a new $108-billion fund to drive investment in artificial intelligence.

Euro in flux

Shanghai was up 0.3% in afternoon trade and Hong Kong fell by 0.5%, while Singapore and Taipei were both down.

Sydney pared Thursday’s gains on the back of central bank chief Philip Lowe hinting at further rate cuts, finishing 0.4% down after Australia’s competition watchdog called for measures to better police internet giants Google and Facebook.

Mixed messages from the European Central Bank over further stimulus had weighed on regional bourses, said Michael Hewson of CMC Markets, after major European indices dipped in Thursday trade.

“Uncertainty has elicited a similar response from markets in Asia where the Bank of Japan also has a similar decision to make next week about easing policy further,” he said.

The euro hit two-year lows before rallying Thursday after the ECB signalled it could soon undertake new stimulus measures and cut rates to boost flagging growth and inflation in Europe.

But “the lack of detail alongside a lack of urgency, notwithstanding an explicit acknowledgement of things getting worse, looks to have disappointed the market,” said National Australia Bank’s Rodrigo Catril.

London and Frankfurt were both up 0.1% shortly after Friday’s open.