Indices across major Asian markets slumped on Thursday, May 18 in the wake of dismal performance from Wall Street. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones fell by 1.82% and 1.78%, respectively, after news arose that US President Donald Trump tried to interfere with the investigation into the allegations against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
Trump's alleged interference was revealed by former FBI Director James Comey, who was recently dismissed by the President. The new controversy surrounding the Trump administration has dealt a serious blow to the president's credibility as his proposals for tax reforms and infrastructure development are now under doubt.
Thus far, Trump has been unable to fulfil his pledges as his executive order on immigration had been vetoed by the judiciary, while his tax plan outline was criticised as being vague and inadequate.
In this regard, the Trump effect on boosting the equities market may be coming to an end, with developments from Washington potentially upsetting investor sentiments further.
The following index quotes were logged on 6:50 am BST:
Japan: Nikkei- Down by 1.40% to 19,537.46
The Cabinet Office revealed on Thursday that the Japanese Gross Domestic Product grew by 0.5% during the first quarter of 2017. The growth has been largely driven by strong exports data as the economy expanded in five consecutive quarters, its longest consistent growth in more than three years.
A sustainable growth trajectory for the economy's recovery is yet to be established, given the decline in core machinery orders that fell below expectations on Wednesday.
Telecommunications and internet firm SoftBank Group (-4.14%) registered some of the sharpest declines of the index.
Hong Kong: Hang Seng- Down by 0.28% to 25,221.63
Internet giant Tencent Holdings (+4.16%) and Cathay Pacific Airways (+2.88%) emerged as the index's strongest performers.
Li Ka-shing owned CK Hutchinson Holdings Ltd (-1.49%) emerged as one of the index's weakest performers.
China: Shanghai Composite- Down by 0.49% to 3,089.220
Australia: S&P/ASX- Down by 1.01% to 5,727.699
The Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that the nation's unemployment rate fell to 5.7% in April from 5.9% in March.
Singapore: Straits Times Index- Down by 0.18% to 3,218.39