Asia Stocks Fall on Growth Concerns, China Selloff

20/08/2021 Asian stocks fell Friday as the fast-spreading delta virus strain stoked concerns about economic growth and China’s regulatory curbs sapped sentiment. The dollar was firm and commodities trimmed a weekly drop. MSCI Inc.’s Asia-Pacific gauge was at the lowest since December. Shares slid in China and Hong Kong — Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. hit another record low — as Beijing cracks down on private industry. The latest step against big tech is legislation setting out tougher rules for handling user data. State media also scrutinized liquor makers, online pharmacies and cosmetics firms.

Locally the All Share followed global markets and closed down 2.46 percent, only five counters closed in the green as we had our worst day since July as sentiment suffered a triple hit from renewed fears about the economic effects of the Delta variant of Covid-19, talk of tapering and the likelihood of further action by market regulators in China. Hopefully we should see the local market steady as Tencent bucks the trend and trades up 1.57%, commodity prices are firmer and IG markets Top 40 is up 80 points.

• MR PRICE RETAIL SALES & OTHER INCOME GREW 48.8% IN 18 WKS
• MR PRICE SEES REDUCING GROSS PROFIT MARGIN IN 1H
• Life Healthcare Rated New Overweight at Nedbank CIB; PT R 28
• Netcare Reinstated Neutral at Nedbank CIB; PT 3.02 rand

ECONOMIC DATA:

• 20: June Mining Production MoM, est. 1.5%, prior -3.5%
• 20: June Mining Production YoY, est. 21.1%, prior 21.9%
• 20: June Gold Production YoY, prior 44.5%
• 20: June Platinum Production YoY, prior 27.0%
European markets closed lower as investors digested the latest Federal Reserve minutes. The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the session down 1.6% provisionally, with all sectors in the red apart from utilities. Miners and retailers led the sectoral losses. The CAC 40 in France was down 2.4%, while the FTSE 100 in the U.K. was off by 1.7%. Germany’s Xetra DAX was 1.7% lower.
Overnight in the US, the S&P 500 snapped a two-day losing streak while the Dow ended its third-straight day in red.After volatile trading, the S&P 500 closed 0.1% higher. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.1%. The Dow bucked the trend and shed 66.57 points.All three major stock indexes are on track to close the week lower. The S&P 500 and the Dow are both on track to post their worst weekly performances since June, while the Nasdaq is set to see its worst week since May.
Markets in Asia-Pacific are lower across the region as China left its benchmark lending rate unchanged. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index plunged 2.28% by the afternoon, with Chinese tech shares listed in the city continuing to see another day of heavy losses as regulatory uncertainty surrounding the sector lingers. Shares of Meituan dropped 7.11% while Alibaba fell 2.16% and JD.com declined 3.08%. The Hang Seng Tech index shed 3.57%. Tencent is bucking the trend and trading up 1.57%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.94% lower.
Oil prices came off three-month lows on Friday but were on track for a weekly decline of around 6% as new lockdowns in countries with low vaccination rates facing surging cases of the delta variant dimmed the outlook for fuel demand. Brent $ 66.77 + 0.48%, WTI $ 64.05 + 0.57%.