HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan fell Wednesday as disappointing U.S. factory activity data fuelled global growth concerns, even as investors braced for high-level Sino-American trade talks.
The Nikkei Asia300 Index fell 0.8% to 1,247.96 The losses followed a retreat on Wall Street overnight after data showed that the U.S. factory activity for September contracted to its weakest level in more than a decade, according to Reuters. The Institute of Supply Management's manufacturing index fell to 47.8 last month, shrinking further from August's 49.1 reading. The print added to concerns over a slowdown in the U.S. economic growth.
"It is tough to debate the fact that the global manufacturing sector is on the cusp, if not in a full-blown recession," Stephen Innes, a market strategist at AxiTrader, wrote in a note.
The probability for a rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve increased after the data, according to CME's FedWatch tool.
Innes noted, however, that risk assets were not reacting positively to the higher probability of a cut. "It is no longer a case of bad news is good, but rather lousy news is frightening."
Markets are also awaiting the outcome of a fresh round of trade talks set to take place in Washington later this month. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will lead a team to the U.S. after the National Day holiday, according to media reports, citing the nation's Ministry of Commerce. Talks are reportedly scheduled to take place on Oct. 10 and 11.
Meanwhile, another series of citywide anti-government protests rocked Hong Kong on Tuesday. Demonstrations turned violent once again, with a policeman shooting a teenage activist in what was the first instance of live ammunition hitting a protestor since the demonstrations began.
Samsung Electronics declined 2.6% in Seoul. The company on Wednesday said it suspended production at a mobile phone factory in Huizhou in China's Guangdong province at the end of September.
Heavyweight chipmaker SK Hynix slid 3.1%. Other technology heavyweights in the region also fell, with Tencent Holdings shedding 1.6% in Hong Kong, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing slipping 0.2% in Taipei.
Sembcorp Industries fell 3.3% in Singapore. The conglomerate on Wednesday announced the sale of its commercial construction business Sembcorp Design & Construction for about 50 million Singapore dollars ($36 million) to construction and property company Chip Eng Seng.
Casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group edged 0.1% lower in Hong Kong. Data released on Tuesday showed Macau's September gaming revenue rose 0.6% from a year ago, halting two months of declines.
Hong Kong-based jewelry retailer Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group declined 1.1%. Data showed on Monday that the number of tourists coming to Hong Kong in August slumped about 39% from a year ago.
Hong Kong's financial markets were closed on Tuesday for National Day, while mainland Chinese markets will remain shut through Oct. 7. Indian financial markets were closed on Wednesday for a national holiday.
-- Suzannah Benjamin