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Tech Tumble Hits Asian Stocks, Bitcoin Steadies
Thursday, 30 November, 2017 | 15:00 WIB
Tech Tumble Hits Asian Stocks, Bitcoin Steadies

TEMPO.COTokyo - Asian shares fell on Thursday, weighed down by a plunge in high-flying tech shares on fears that a long boom in microchips may have peaked, while virtual currency bitcoin steadied after a roller-coaster ride in the previous session.

The digital currency's 10-fold increase in price this year has stoked worries of a bubble and potential crash that could rattle conventional financial markets.

Bitcoin rose nearly 3 percent to around $10,100 during Asian trading on Thursday. On Wednesday, it surged to a record high of $11,395, before it slipped to a low of $9,250.

European shares were seen falling slightly, with spread-betters expecting Britain's FTSE to fall 0.3 percent and France's CAC and Germany's DAX to fall 0.1 percent.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 1.3 percent, with technology bellwether Samsung Electronics falling 4.3 percent to two-month lows and Taiwan's TSMC down 3.6 percent.

Read: Bitcoin Plummets Following ICO Ban in China

Japan's Nikkei reversed early losses to end 0.6 percent higher, though the country's electronic machinery makers index was down 1.5 percent.

In the U.S., the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.27 percent as investors shifted to financials and other sectors even as the S&P 500 was almost flat and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.44 percent.

Shares of Amazon.com, Apple, Google parent Alphabet and Facebook fell between 2 percent and 4 percent. Among the year's other high fliers, Netflix slid 5.5 percent.

Possibly weighing on them were concerns, sparked by a Morgan Stanley report earlier this week, that "super-cycle" in memory chip demand is likely to peak soon.

"It is true that if you look at the world's semiconductor sales on chart, their year-on-year growth appears to be peaking out. Given the current high sales level, some market players would be naturally worried," said Hiroshi Watanabe, an economist at Sony Financial Holdings.

"But if you look at what's driving demand, it's not just smartphones and actually a lot of things, such as data centers. The world's demand is likely to continue expanding in 2018 and I don't see the need to be pessimistic now," he said.

Some market players said selling in tech shares had more to do with profit-taking ahead of the end of the year and described the slide as a healthy correction.

Read: Chinese Bitcoin Exchange Announces It is Ending Trading

"Tech shares have done so well over the past year. There are many shares that saw their prices doubling. So investors have been on guard. They have been looking for an opportune time to sell," said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment analyst at Morgan Stanley.

The Nasdaq index is still up 26.8 percent so far this year, more than 9 percentage points above gains in the S&P. The ex-Japan Asia-Pacific MSCI index edged up 0.5 percent for the month, taking its gains for far this year to more than 30 percent.

REUTERS 

 



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