Asia-Pacific stocks decline following overnight drop on Wall Street

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia Pacific traded lower on Thursday morning following overnight declines on Wall Street.

South Korean shares led losses among the region’s major markets, as the Kospi dropped 1.81%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also fell 1.59%. Mainland Chinese stocks slipped, with the Shanghai composite down 1.08% while the Shenzhen component declined 1.194%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.73% in morning trade while the Topix index shed 0.69%.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.23%.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 1.32% lower.

Tech shares decline

Technology stocks in Asia-Pacific took a hit in Thursday morning trade, following losses seen by their counterparts stateside.

In Japan, conglomerate Softbank Group saw its stock drop 3.01%. Kakao in South Korea also fell 3.01%. In Hong Kong, shares of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi slipped 2.64% while Tencent declined 1.36%, with the Hang Seng Tech index falling 2.07%.

The tech heavy Nasdaq Composite has fallen 9.7% so far this month as investors rotate out of the sector. Big Tech stocks like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Alphabet and Microsoft are all down at least 11% in September.

Australia’s Westpac reaches settlement

Shares of Australia’s Westpac were down 1.04%, with the lender announcing Thursday it had reached an agreement with financial crime agency AUSTRAC to pay a record 1.3 billion Australian dollar (approx. $920 million) fine, according to Reuters.

The settlement came following a lawsuit from AUSTRAC accusing Westpac of enabling millions of payments to people exploiting children, Reuters reported. Other major Australian banks such as Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group also saw their stocks decline.

Oil prices slip

Oil prices were lower in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.89% to $41.40 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also slipped 1.18% to $39.46 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, sat at 94.294 following its rise from levels below 93 this week.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.45 per dollar after weakening from levels around 105 yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.7057 after falling yesterday from above $0.712.

— CNBC’s Berkeley Lovelace Jr. contributed to this report.

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