This Time Around, Asia Investors Aren’t Buying the Tech Euphoria

(Bloomberg) -- Anyone expecting a rally in Asia stocks Wednesday was in for a rude shock. The surge in American equities overnight didn’t follow through into the region like it has so often in the past.

The S&P 500 Index closed 0.9 percent higher, hitting a record high Tuesday, as the tech optimism continued with Twitter Inc. reporting strong results. But that quickly came to a halt when semiconductor stocks fell in post-market trading after Texas Instruments Inc. suggested slumping demand in the chip industry may not recover as quickly as some investors expected.

This Time Around, Asia Investors Aren’t Buying the Tech Euphoria

Then came the wider-than-expected first-quarter operating loss from LG Display, which also expressed concerns over tech demand during its earnings conference call Wednesday, said Seo Sang-young, a strategist at Kiwoom Securities. LG Display hasn’t yet seen signs of LCD panel price recovery, MoneyToday reported, citing the firm.

Could it be that investors were too quick to call the tech bottom?

South Korea’s Kospi index fell as much as 1.4 percent, with Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix Inc. and LG Display among the top five stocks contributing most to the decline in the index. The MSCI Asia Pacific Infotech Index slumped 0.6 percent, making it the fourth-worst sector Wednesday.

This Time Around, Asia Investors Aren’t Buying the Tech Euphoria

It also may be the case that, while earnings are being released in full force in the U.S., investors might still be holding back in Asia, where many companies are yet to report.

“Japan’s earnings season isn’t in full flow yet and corporate-earnings momentum isn’t as strong as in the U.S.,” limiting the upside for Japanese stocks, said Kenji Ueno, a fund manager at Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Asset Management Co. in Tokyo.

And even though American and Asian shares often move in the same direction, that doesn’t always have to be true.

"They can be two separate beasts and not always march to the beat of the same drum,” said IG Markets Ltd. analyst Kyle Rodda. There’s a drive in the U.S. in general to seek growth and yield, and tech stocks are a logical extension of that, he said.

But it isn’t just corporate results that are causing concern in Asia. Societe Generale points to a 27 percent drop in Singapore’s electronics exports in March as another potential signal that it’s too early for optimism.

The exports drop “is yet another signal that it may be too early to call the bottom in the tech and electronics cycle in the region," SocGen strategist Alain Bokobza said in an April 23 report.

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