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Stock markets across the Asia Pacific region were largely downbeat on Wednesday, taking cues from a disappointing session on Wall Street that saw the S&P 500 end 0.3 per cent lower and with energy stocks undercut by a Tuesday downturn in crude oil prices.
In Sydney the S&P/ASX 200 index was off 0.4 per cent led lower by falls of 0.8 per cent in finance and energy stocks. Shares in Australian gambling group Tatts rose as much as 1.7per cent after a consortium backed by US private equity group KKR & Co offered $4.7bn in cash for the company, posing a potential spoiler to a planned merger with rival Tabcorp Holdings.
Energy stocks were suffering in Tokyo as well, down 1.1 per cent and offsetting gains in the healthcare segment to leave the broader Topix index flat. Among those hardest hit were Inpex, down 0.9 per cent, and Japan Petroleum Exploration, down 1.2 per cent.
Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng index dropped by 0.6 per cent, pulled lower by a 1.5 per cent drop in energy stocks that saw state-run Chinese firms Cnooc, Sinopec and PetroChina down 2.1 per cent, 1.3 per cent and 1.4 per cent, respectively. The fall took the benchmark further below the psychological threshold of 24,000 points, a level that the index has repeatedly breached and then fallen back over the last decade.
Mainland Chinese bourses showed unusual consanguinity with the region at large, with the Shanghai Composite index dropping 0.6 per cent and the Shenzhen Composite index falling 0.8 per cent as mainland-listed energy stock suffered.