(RTTNews.com) - Most Asian stocks fell on Monday, following steep losses on Wall Street Friday, after a strong jobs report for January helped fuel expectations that the Federal Reserve will lift borrowing costs more than the three times initially expected this year.
Chinese shares bucked the weak regional trend to end notably higher after data showed that China's private sector activity expanded at the fastest pace in seven years in January, driven by accelerated rates of activity growth across both manufacturing and services. The Caixin composite PMI rose to 53.7 from 53.0 in December.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite index rose 25.42 points or 0.73 percent to 3,487.50 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 1.1 percent in late trade.
Japanese shares followed regional peers lower, with selling seen across the board. The Nikkei average slumped 592.45 points or 2.55 percent to finish at 22,682.08, logging its biggest decline in 15 months. The broader Topix index closed 2.17 percent lower at 1,823.74.
Panasonic, Sony, Canon, SoftBank and Mitsubishi Electric shed 2-5 percent. Honda Motor rallied 2.1 percent after the carmaker lifted its annual profit forecast.
On the data front, Japan's service sector activity expanded at a slightly faster pace in January, results of a survey by IHS Markit showed. The seasonally adjusted services purchasing managers' index rose to 51.9 from 51.1 in December.
Australian shares tumbled, with all sectors closing deep in the red after the major U.S indexes fell more than 2 percent on Friday on worries about higher interest rates. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 dropped 95.20 points or 1.56 percent to 6,026.20 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended down 101.40 points or 1.63 percent at 6,128.40.
The big four banks fell more than 1 percent while miners BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and South32 lost 2-3 percent. Energy majors Woodside Petroleum, Origin Energy, Oil Search, Beach Energy and Santos tumbled 2-4 percent.
AWE declined 3 percent after it accepted a $602 million takeover bid from Japanese firm Mitsui. Engineering and mining services firm Downer EDI plunged 3.8 percent after flagging a $77m impairment charge.
Wesfarmers slumped 4.5 percent after announcing executive changes at its underperforming U.K. hardware business.
In economic releases, Australia' service sector activity expanded at an accelerated pace in January, the latest survey from the Australian Industry Group showed.
Seoul stocks ended sharply lower amid selling by foreign and institutional investors. The benchmark Kospi dropped 33.64 points or 1.33 percent to
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics bucked the weak trend to end half a percent higher at 2,396,000 won as a South Korean court suspended the company's Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee's sentence after an appeal.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX-50 index fell 173.46 points or 2.06 percent to 8,241.83 as investors awaited employment data for the fourth quarter and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand's monetary policy decision for directional cues.
Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was down 0.6 percent and Malaysia's KLSE Composite was losing 0.8 percent while benchmark indexes in India, Singapore and Taiwan were down between 1.1 percent and 1.6 percent.
U.S. stocks plunged on Friday, the dollar gained ground and oil prices slid on worries about the prospect of higher interest rates after the jobs report for January showed stronger than expected job growth and a jump in wages.
The report showed that non-farm payroll employment surged up by 200,000 jobs in January after climbing by an upwardly revised 160,000 jobs in December.
Economists had expected employment to increase by about 180,000 jobs compared to the addition of 148,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
A negative reaction to quarterly results from big name tech companies like Google parent Alphabet and Apple also contributed to the sell-off.
The Dow lost 2.5 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite tumbled 2 percent and the S&P 500 declined 2.1 percent.
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