Japan’s Nikkei 225 falls nearly 2% as investors monitor Evergrande stocks

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Tuesday trade as investors continued monitoring the situation surrounding embattled developer China Evergrande Group.

Japanese stocks declined as they returned to trade following a Monday holiday. The Nikkei 225 dropped 1.79% in afternoon trade while the Topix index shed 1.51%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, which was dragged down by more than 3% on Monday amid investor fears around Evergrande, sat 0.32% lower by Tuesday afternoon in the city.

Shares of China Evergrande Group fell 3.51%, while the Hang Seng Properties index climbed 1.59%, bouncing back partially from Monday’s losses.

Evergrande’s chairman tried to reassure markets on Tuesday, and said the firm will fulfill its responsibilities to property buyers, investors, partners and financial institutions, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing local media.

Meanwhile, S&P Global Ratings credit analysts said in a report: “We believe Beijing would only be compelled to step in if there is a far-reaching contagion causing multiple major developers to fail and posing systemic risks to the economy,” according to the Monday report. “Evergrande failing alone would unlikely result in such a scenario.”

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.15%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.18% lower.

Markets in mainland China and South Korea are closed on Tuesday for a holiday.

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Overnight stateside, the S&P 500 saw its worst day since May, dropping 1.7% to 4,357.73. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 614.41 points to 33,970.47 while the Nasdaq Composite fell 2.19% to 14,713.90.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.201 following its climb late last week from about 92.8.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.59 per dollar, having strengthened yesterday from around 110 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7272 as it struggles to recover after declining from above $0.73 last week.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.85% to $74.55 per barrel. U.S. crude futures advanced 0.98% to $70.98 per barrel.