Asia Stocks Sink on Fed Rate Hike

Asia-Pacific bourses were mostly lower on Thursday as investors reacted to the widely expected U.S. Fed's interest rate hike.

Chinese stocks were lower as Hong Kong, which follows U.S. monetary policy decisions as its currency is pegged to the greenback, and China followed the Fed's lead and made similar interest hike moves of their own. Financial stocks dragged Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index 0.19% lower - BOC Hong Kong (2388.HK) fell 2% and Hang Seng Bank (11.HK) declined 1.1%, while insurance companies China Life (2628.HK), AIA (1299.HK) and Ping An (2318.HK) were 1%, 1.9% and 0.44% lower, respectively. It was a similar story for the Hang Seng China Enterprises index, with financial stocks dragging the H-shares gauge lower. Chinese airlines stocks continued to gain altitude following the news earlier this week of a deal between the UK and China that allows for a 50% boost in the number of passenger flights between the two nations. China Southern (1055.HK) - which revealed a 15% jump in traffic for November - climbed 3.12%, China Eastern (670.HK) soared 5.4%, while Air China (753.HK) rose 3.6%. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.3% lower, while the CSI 300, which tracks large cap companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen, closed 0.6% lower.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.3% lower, while the broader Topix closed 0.2% down, as elsewhere, led by financial stocks. Insurer Sompo Holdings (8630.JP) fell 4.32%, while major bank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial (8306.JP) dropped 2.46%. Toshiba (6502.JP) jumped 3.9% as ratings agency R&I said the settlement with Western Digital will positively affect the Japanese electronics conglomerate's credit rating. Panasonic (6752.JP) jumped 2.35% after the world's biggest supplier of car batteries revealed plans to go into partnership with car maker Toyota Motor (7203.JP) to develop battery technology for electric vehicles. Toyota was up 0.23%.

Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index slipped back 0.18%, snapping a five-day winning streak. Myer Holdings (MYR.AU) dropped more than 9% after the Australian department store operator issued a profit warning. Mining stocks were among the biggest gainers as UBS analysts expect capacity cuts as China's focuses on reform and pollution 2018 should lead to higher commodity prices - Independence Group (IGO.AU) jumped 6.47%, Resolute Mining (RSG.AU) gained 6.3% and Western Areas (WSA.AU) advanced 5.3%. Meanwhile, miner and smelter Alumina (ALU.AU) jumped 1.32% after being upgraded to equal-weight from underweight by Morgan Stanley. AGL Energy (AGL.AU) dropped 2.3% after Citi cut its rating on the gas distributor's stock as it reckons the entry of competition from Alinta Energy on Australia's east coast will dent AGL's earnings. Shares in Woolworths (WOW.AU) slipped 0.6% after Australia's antitrust regulator blocked the AUD1.8 billion sale of its network of more than 500 gas stations to the U.K.'s BP (BP.UK). Conversely, Shares in Caltex Australia (CTX.AU), the existing fuel supplier to Woolworths, jumped almost 4% on the news.

Elsewhere, Korea's KOSPI index closed 0.45, while Taiwan's tech-heavy TAIEX closed 0.64% higher.

European markets are lower, with the Euro STOXX 50 down 0.16%, the German DAX 0.14% lower, while the France CAC 40 edged down 0.2%.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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