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Markets

Asia stocks tumble after Wall Street sell-off

Nikkei plunges more than 3% amid fresh concerns over Apple, economic slowdown

Concerns over weak demand for Apple products spilled over into Asian stocks on Tuesday. (Photo by Rie Ishii)

TOKYO -- Japanese stocks are down more than 3% Tuesday morning, as a sell-off in U.S. technology shares overnight and growing concerns over cooling global economic growth spilled over into Asia.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 3.5% at one point, hitting its lowest intraday level since Oct. 30. All shares on the index, from Toyota Motor to Panasonic, were trading lower in the morning.

If shares maintain those losses, it will be the largest single day fall since Oct. 25, when the index slid 3.7%.

The sell-off follows a 2% decline in the S&P 500 in New York. The fall was led by Apple after a supplier of components for the company's newest iPhones unexpectedly cut its outlook for the second quarter, citing weak orders.

Shares of Japanese Apple suppliers such as TDK and Taiyo Yuden were also hit hard on Tuesday.

Fresh concerns over the health of the global economy added to the negative sentiment, after data released on Monday showed Japan's machine tool orders fell for the first time in almost two years. Industrial robot maker Fanuc, dropped nearly 8%.

SoftBank Group, whose plan for listing its mobile unit in December was approved by the Tokyo bourse on Monday, fell more than 3%.

The downtrend has spread across Asia's high-tech sector. Apple's biggest supplier, Hon Hai Precision Industry, was down 3.1% at one point. Pegatron and Largan Precision, also Apple suppliers, dropped more than 5%. Taiwan's broader TAIEX index was down more than 2%.

South Korea's KOSPI index was off more than 2%. SK Hynix shares dropped more than 5%, while Samsung Electronics and LG Display were also lower.

Shanghai Composite Index was down 1.2%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 2.1% at one point.

Stocks came off their lows in the afternoon, with the Nikkei closing at 21,810.52, down 2.1%. "The decline was excessive," said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management, adding that the index "will not go significantly lower than this."

The TAIEX 0.6% lower at 9775.84. Shares of Largan Precision rebounded in the afternoon, climbing 4.9%, while Hon Hai closed down 2.4%. Shares were bought back in response to an "overreaction" in the morning, according to Ichikawa.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose in the afternoon, on reports that the U.S. and China have resumed high-level trade discussions.

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