Asian shares fall back on trade worries, tech outlook

Asian shares fell back Friday after a major supplier to Apple forecast continued weak demand for mobile devices. A warning by the head of the IMF over the potential for trade tensions to harm global growth also weighed on sentiment.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 edged 0.1 percent lower to 22,181.06, shedding early gains. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.4 percent to 2,475.72 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.6 percent to 30,531.52. The Shanghai Composite Index slumped 1.5 percent to 3,072.24. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 retreated 0.3 percent to 5,865.00. Stocks in Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia also declined.

APPLE SUPPLIERS: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. plunged nearly 6 percent in Taiwan after the key Asian Apple supplier gave a lower-than-expected revenue forecast for the second quarter of $7.8 billion-$7.9 billion. The company predicted demand in the mobile sector would remain weak. Other Apple suppliers also traded lower. South Korea’s LG Display Co. lost 0.8 percent and Samsung Electronics Co., tumbled 1.9 percent.

ANALYST’S TAKE: Weak guidance from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., a major supplier to Apple, brewed concerns of weak iPhone demand, dragging technology shares lower, Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG in Singapore, said in a commentary. “The corresponding impact would certainly be watched into the Asian session today with the supply chain sprawled across the region.”

TRADE: The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, is urging countries to work out their differences over trade and take advantage of the healthy world economy to reduce debt before the next downturn comes. Speaking as the IMF and World Bank began their spring meeting, Lagarde warned against complacency: “More needs to be done to sustain this upswing and foster long-term growth,” she said.

WALL STREET: U.S. stock markets finished lower on Thursday, ending a three-day winning streak for the market as technology and consumer products companies went sour. The S&P 500 index fell 0.6 percent to 2,693.13. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 0.3 percent to 24,664.89. The Nasdaq composite lost 0.8 percent to 7,238.06. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 0.6 percent to 1,573.82.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 24 cents to $68.09 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 14 cents to finish at $68.33 per barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 18 cents to $73.60 per barrel in London. On Thursday, it rose 30 cents to close at $73.78 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 107.65 yen from 107.38 yen. The euro fell to $1.2342 from $1.2345.