Asian markets mixed after Wall Street has worst day since 1987
Philippine market shutdown raises prospect that other exchanges may follow
NEW YORK Asian bourses were mixed yesterday after Wall Street stocks had their worst day since 1987 on Monday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 12.9 per cent, or nearly 3,000 points, at 20,188.52.
The broad-based S&P 500 dove 12 per cent to 2,386.13, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 12.3 per cent to 6,904.59.
The losses were the most substantial since worries over a coronavirus-induced recession became the market's preoccupation over the last three weeks.
President Donald Trump, for the first time, said the US economy "may be" heading into a recession, acknowledging an outcome that an increasing number of economists are expecting.
"The market will take care of itself," Mr Trump told reporters at a briefing. "The market will be very strong as soon as we get rid of the virus."
Asian markets fluctuated yesterday after the loss, with Singapore shares falling 1.7 per cent to close at the lowest in at least 101/2 years.
The Philippine Stock Exchange closed indefinitely yesterday while currency and bond trading was suspended, the first shutdown of markets worldwide in response to the coronavirus, with authorities citing risks to the safety of traders.
The move comes after some bourses around the world closed trading floors or paused trade after big falls in market value.
And while the Philippine shutdown was prompted by health reasons amid a broad nationwide lockdown, it raises the prospect other exchanges may follow.
"Given the unprecedented speed of the slump in equity prices, it has been suggested that stock exchanges might be closed soon if things don't turn around," research house Capital Economics said in a note yesterday.
In other markets, Sydney rose 5.8 per cent, a day after crashing 9.7 per cent in its worst day on record.
But after an early advance, the rest of Asia swung in and out of positive territory through the day.
Tokyo ended up 0.1 per cent after a roller-coaster session, Hong Kong edged 0.1 per cent higher in the afternoon and Mumbai added 1.6 per cent, while Bangkok was slightly higher.
But Shanghai slipped 0.4 per cent, while Jakarta sank more than four per cent. Seoul and Taipei were down as well.
"Drastic measures by the Federal Reserve and other central banks have failed to appease markets, with investors still running towards the exit door of risk assets as governments step up their radical measures to contain the Covid-19 outbreak," said National Australia Bank's Rodrigo Catril.
"The message from markets is that as much as monetary stimulus is welcome, lowering the price of borrowing and increasing liquidity are not enough," said Mr Catril. - AFP, REUTERS