Asian shares skid after technology sell-off hits Nasdaq

Shares were mostly lower in Asia on Tuesday after a tumultuous session for tech shares on Wall Street.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index shed 0.1% to 20,384.43, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.3% to 26,804.81. The Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.8% to 2,865.87 and the Kospi in South Korea declined 0.1% to 2,066.20.

Australia’s S&P ASX 200 was flat as the central bank announced it was cutting its benchmark interest rate to a record low 1.25% from 1.5%. It was the first rate cut in nearly three years.

India’s Sensex gave up 0.3% to 40,152.77. Shares were lower in Taiwan but rose in Thailand and Singapore.

In a mild rebuke, the U.S. Trade Representative and Treasury Department issued a statement criticizing a Chinese government report over the weekend that had blamed President Donald Trump’s administration for the trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.

The statement posted on the USTR’s website said the U.S. was “disappointed” with the white paper report issued by Beijing and with statements by Chinese officials that were in pursuit of a “blame game” misrepresenting the nature of the dispute and negotiations with Washington.

Overnight, major U.S. stock indexes were mostly lower amid signs the Trump administration may ratchet up scrutiny on some of the market’s biggest names: Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google.

Investors were reacting to media reports suggesting that government regulators are setting the stage for potential antitrust probes into each of the four technology giants.

Google’s parent Alphabet lost 6.1% and Facebook sank 7.5%. Apple shed 1% on the day that the iPhone seller kicked off its annual software showcase. Amazon fell 4.6%. The four have a combined market value of nearly $3 trillion, and their losses helped tilt the S&P 500 lower on a day when there were actually more gainers than losers in the stock market. It fell 0.3% to 2,744.45, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added less than 0.1% to 24,819.78..

The sell-off knocked the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index into a correction, Wall Street speak for a drop of 10% or more from a peak. The Nasdaq hit its most recent all-time high early last month, before the trade dispute between the U.S. and China escalated, setting off a month-long slide. The Nasdaq tumbled 1.6% to 7,333.02. It’s now down 10.2% from its all-time high set May 3.

The Russell 2000 index of small companies rose 0.3% to 1,469.98.

As the dispute between Washington and Beijing over trade and technology grinds on, investors have been shifting into less risky assets. Bond prices climbed again Monday, pulling the yield on the 10-year Treasury note down to 2.07% from 2.14% late Friday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 107.98 Japanese yen from 108.07 yen on Monday. The euro strengthened to $1.1249 from $1.1242.

ENERGY: Energy futures extended losses. Benchmark U.S. crude lost 15 cents to $53.10 per barrel. On Monday, it slid 0.5% to settle at $53.25 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, gave up 26 cents to $61.02 per barrel. It closed 1.1% lower on Monday at $61.28 per barrel.