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Asia Falters as Bond Yields Rise

May 16, 2018 (Baystreet.ca via COMTEX) --

Most stocks in Asia closed lower on Wednesday as markets processed new geopolitical uncertainty related to North Korea and the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield rising to its highest level in seven years overnight.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 docked 100.79 points, or 0.4%, to 22,717.23, as mining and oil shares weighed. Banking stocks also pulled back. Against the yen, the U.S. Dollar traded at 110.25 -- near levels not seen since February.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index ditched 41.83 points, or 0.1%, to 31,110.20, extending losses seen in the last session but off its session lows. Hong Kong-listed tech giant Tencent traded lower by 1.2%, ahead of earnings due later.

Korean stocks were flat, as gains by heavyweight Samsung Electronics offset declines seen in oil refiners and stocks in the manufacturing sector.

In Australia, stocks doggedly made their way upward, as most of the country's heavily weighted "Big Four" banks carved out gains while the energy sector led gains on the index.

In Australia, shares of Myer jumped 16% after the department store operator reported that its third-quarter sales declined 2.7%. That was slower than the 3.6% drop in the first half of the year

In individual movers, dairy company A2 Milk slumped 13.7% in New Zealand after announcing it expected full-year revenue to come in between 900 million New Zealand dollars ($618 million U.S.) and NZ$920 million ($631 million U.S.). That was below a forecast of NZ$940 million.

Geopolitics were also in focus after new developments out of North Korea. Pyongyang said on Wednesday it would reconsider an upcoming landmark meeting if the U.S. insisted on it giving up its nuclear weapons

Earlier, North Korea had suddenly dropped plans for talks with South Korea slated to take place on Wednesday. Joint military drills between South Korea and the U.S. were highlighted as a reason for the cancellation of talks.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 fell 31.26 points, or 0.8%, to 3,892.84.

Financials were among the worst-performing sectors in Shanghai, with major insurers and banks downbeat. New China Life Insurance dropped 3.8% and China Pacific Insurance fell 4%

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index inched up 1.28 points, or 0.1%, to 2,459.82

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index removed 7.18 points, or 0.2%, to 3,533.05

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index regained 22.84 points, or 0.2%, to 10,897.57

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 dumped 153.27 points, or 1.8%, to 8,555.51

In Australia, the ASX 200 gained 9.14 points, or 0.2%, to 6,106.96

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