Asian stocks shrug off tech selloff on Wall Street

Forex traders look at monitors in the foreign exchange trading room at KEB Hana Bank's headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. Stocks were mixed in Asia on Thursday as the latest batch of reports on corporate earnings kept investors in a buy mood, driving gains on Wall Street.  (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Forex traders look at monitors in the foreign exchange trading room at KEB Hana Bank’s headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. Stocks were mixed in Asia on Thursday as the latest batch of reports on corporate earnings kept investors in a buy mood, driving gains on Wall Street. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

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Asian stocks were mostly higher on Friday after a historic drop in the stock price of Facebook’s parent company helped drag other tech stocks down on Wall Street.

Hong Kong jumped 2.6% after it reopened from the Lunar New Year holiday. Shanghai remained closed. Tokyo and Seoul advanced while Sydney was lower. Other regional markets were higher.

Thursday’s retirement in New York ended a four-day winning streak for the market.

The 26.4% wipeout of meta platforms, as the owner of Facebook is now known, wiped out more than $230 billion in market value, by far the biggest one-day loss in history for a company American. Shares of other social media companies, including Twitter and Snap, also fell.

Because Meta is highly valued, a large swing in its stock price can also cause broader stock indices to fall or rise. The S&P 500 fell 2.4%, its biggest decline in nearly a year, to 4,477.44.

The technology-focused Nasdaq composite fell 3.7%, its biggest loss since September 2020, closing at 13,878.82. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which does not include meta platforms, fell 1.5% to 35,111.16.

Shares of smaller companies also fell. The Russell 2000 Index lost 38.48 points, or 1.9%, to 1,991.03.

But Asian markets were little affected.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 607 points to 24,391.85. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo edged up less than 0.1% to 27,269.22. The South Korean Kospi advanced 0.8% to 2,728.00. In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.1% to 7,068.30.

Trading has been muted this week, with Chinese markets closed and coronavirus cases still rising in Asia, particularly Japan and Hong Kong,

Investors are watching the latest update on the US jobs market recovery. The Labor Department will release its January monthly report on Friday.

On Wall Street, Meta sank after forecasting revenue well below analysts’ expectations for the current quarter following privacy changes by Apple and increased competition from TikTok. It’s a disappointment for a company that investors have become accustomed to delivering spectacular growth. Meta also reported a rare drop in profits due to a sharp increase in expenses as it invests to transform itself into a virtual reality-based company.

The sharp drop weighed on fellow Twitter, which fell 5.6%. Snapchat’s parent company, Snap, fell 23.6% and Pinterest 10.3%. Snap soared 54% and Pinterest jumped 28% in aftermarket trading after each reported better-than-expected results. Amazon.com jumped 18% in after-hours trading after posting strong fourth-quarter results despite supply chain issues.

Big tech and communications companies have been instrumental in generating gains for the broader market throughout the pandemic and much of the recovery in 2021. But investors have been shifting money into the expectation of rising interest rates, which makes stocks in high-flying technology companies and other expensive growth stocks relatively less attractive.

Bond yields rose sharply on Thursday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which serves as a benchmark for setting interest rates on mortgages and many other types of loans, rose to 1.84% from 1.76% on Wednesday evening.

The Federal Reserve is planning its first interest rate hike in March, in a bid to curb inflation that has hit 40-year highs. These higher costs are likely to persist until supply chains loosen and help lower costs for businesses and perhaps lower prices for consumers.

In Europe, the Bank of England raised interest rates for the second time in three months on Thursday, moving faster to tame inflation than the Fed and the European Central Bank. Meanwhile, the head of the ECB said record inflation could persist “longer than expected” and appeared to open the door ever so slightly for a rate hike this year. Stock markets in Europe fell.

Spotify fell 16.8% after the major music streaming service gave investors a weak outlook for a closely watched measure of its earnings. The company has come under pressure after Neil Young removed his music from his platform in protest at the spread of misinformation about COVID-19 by star Spotify podcaster Joe Rogan. Other musicians followed.

Wall Street’s major indexes are still on track for weekly gains, helped by strong earnings reports from companies like Apple, Exxon, UPS and Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

In other trading, benchmark U.S. crude oil took 56 cents to $90.83 a gallon after jumping $2.01 to $90.27 a gallon on Thursday.

Brent crude, the pricing base for international oils, added 39 cents to $91.50 a gallon.

The US dollar slipped to 114.95 Japanese yen from 114.96 yen on Thursday evening. The euro fell from $1.1437 to $1.1469.

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AP Business Writers Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga contributed.

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