Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HSI) opened down 0.1% and extended its losses to nearly 1%.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 (N225) briefly rose in early trading before erasing gains and dipping 0.1%. Japanese markets were closed Tuesday for a holiday.
In Tokyo, shares in SoftBank (SFTBF) fell 3% after the Japanese conglomerate announced a massive deal to bail out WeWork, the embattled office space startup.
The subdued mood from investors followed a down day on Wall Street. All three major US indexes closed lower overnight as a handful of big corporate earnings disappointed. Investors are also looking out for the latest developments on Brexit.
“We are expecting a quiet flat-to-slightly lower day as Asia prefers to take its cues from other markets this week,” wrote Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at Oanda, in a research note Wednesday.
The International Monetary Fund cut its forecasts for Asia’s economic growth to 5% for 2019 and 5.1% for 2020 from 5.4% for both years. The organization cited a number of risks, including the potential for the relationship between the United States and China to deteriorate even more, a faster-than-expected slowdown in China and rising geopolitical tensions.
The Hong Kong government also announced Tuesday afternoon that it would inject another 2 billion Hong Kong dollars ($255 million) into the economy, which has taken a hit from months of mass protests, China’s slowdown and the trade war.
“Over the past few months, local social unrest has not only damaged Hong Kong’s image as a safe city and an international financial, commercial, trade and aviation hub, but also hit the local economy hard,” the government wrote in a press release announcing the stimulus measures. “Retail, catering, transport and tourism sectors have suffered a heavy blow.”
Futures for the Dow (INDU), S&P 500 (SPX) and Nasdaq (COMP) continued to drop Wednesday during early Asian trading hours.
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