The Hang Seng led the selloff for Asian stocks, falling nearly 4% after the China data

Last updated: Jan. 17, 2024 at 4:49 am ET

Originally published: Jan. 16, 2024 at 11:35 PM ET

TOKYO (AP) — Asian stocks fell Wednesday after an overnight slide on Wall Street and disappointing China growth data, while Tokyo's main gauge briefly hit another 30-year high.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 NIY00 hit a session high of 36,239.22, but ended down 0.4% at 35,477.75. The Nikkei hit a new 34-year high, or best since February 1990, during the so-called financial bubble. Buying of semiconductor-related stocks and a cheap yen helped exacerbate exporter problems.

Don't…

TOKYO (AP) — Asian stocks fell Wednesday after an overnight slide on Wall Street and disappointing China growth data, while Tokyo's main gauge briefly hit another 30-year high.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225

NIY00

It touched a session high of 36,239.22, but ended 0.4% lower at 35,477.75. The Nikkei hit a new 34-year high, or best since February 1990, during the so-called financial bubble. Buying of semiconductor-related stocks and a cheap yen helped exacerbate exporter problems.

Don't miss: Wall Street firms continue to score high on Buffett's enthusiasm for Japan.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng HK:HSCI fell 3.7% to 15,276.90 after data showed China reached its economic growth target of 5.2% in 2023, beating government expectations but falling short of the 5.3% expected by some analysts. The Shanghai composite CN:SHCOMP fell 2.1% to 2,833.62.

Read: China met its economic-growth target 'without a massive boost', PM Li Keqiang boasts

Share prices of US-listed Chinese companies including Yum China

YUMC

and Alibaba

Baba

The market fell in pre-market trade.

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Investors kept their eyes on upcoming earnings reports and potential moves by the world's central banks to gauge their next moves.
Wall Street returned to sluggish trading over the three-day holiday weekend.

See: What's Next for Stocks in 'Tired' Market Stalls Before Closer Look at Retail Sales in 2024?

The S&P 500 SPX was down 17.85 points, or 0.4%, at 4,765.98. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA was down 231.86, or 0.6%, at 37,361.12, and the Nasdaq COMP was down 28.41, or 0.2%, at 14,944.35.

Easier rates and yields ease pressure on the economy and financial system, while increasing prices for investments. Interest rates have been the main force moving the stock market over the past six months, according to Morgan Stanley strategist Michael Wilson.

He sees that movement continuing in the near term, with “the stock market still in charge.”

For now, traders are in for more cuts through 2024 than the central bank itself has indicated. This raises the possibility of large market swings with every speech from a Fed official or economic report.

Bond market yields rose after Fed Governor Christopher Waller said in a speech that “policy is well set” on interest rates. Following the speech, traders raised some challenges to the central bank's first rate cut taking place in May instead of March.

MarketWatch contributed to this report

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