Chinese online gaming stocks tumble after state media takes aim at industry; Asia-Pacific stocks slip

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific fell in Tuesday trade, with Hong Kong-listed shares of firms in the Chinese online gaming market plummeting after the activity was described as a type of “opium” by Chinese state media.

In Tuesday morning trade, shares of Tencent in Hong Kong plunged more than 10% while Netease and Bilibili plummeted 12.71% and 13.24%, respectively. The Hang Seng Tech index declined 3.19%.

The losses came after the Economic Information Daily, affiliated with Chinese state media outlet Xinhua, published an article that expressed concern over the amount of time spent by youths on online gaming.

Hong Kong’s broader Hang Seng index dipped 1.47%.

Mainland Chinese stocks were lower as the Shanghai composite declined 0.22% while the Shenzhen component fell 0.334%.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan slipped 0.8% while the Topix index shed 0.7%. South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.12%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.25%. Shares of Afterpay saw more gains in Tuesday trade, jumping around 12%. The firm’s stock surged nearly 19% on Monday after U.S. fintech firm Square announced it had agreed to buy the buy now, pay later giant. 

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.73% lower.

Looking ahead, the Reserve Bank of Australia is set to announce its interest rate decision at 12:30 p.m. HK/SIN on Tuesday.

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Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 97.31 points to 34,838.16 while the S&P 500 slipped 0.18% to 4,387.16. The Nasdaq Composite edged fractionally higher to 14,681.07.

Concerns over Covid are weighing on investor sentiment. The CDC director said Monday that the seven-day average of daily coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassed the peak seen last summer, when the country didn’t have an authorized Covid-19 vaccine.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.051 after recently seeing levels below 92.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.22 per dollar, stronger than levels above 109.5 seen against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7365, having risen from below $0.735 yesterday.

Oil prices were little changed in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures below the flatline, trading at $72.87 per barrel. U.S. crude futures sat little changed at $71.25 per barrel.

— CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.

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