(Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group Corp. was among the most-significant victims of a selloff of tech stocks across Asia on Thursday, with investors turning sour on billionaire Masayoshi Son’s firm as the tightening phase of central bank policies emerges.
The stock dropped as much as 9.8% in Tokyo, the most since March 2020, as Nasdaq futures tumbled and shares of the firm’s biggest investment, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., dropped in Hong Kong. Hawkish signals from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell led investors to wager against technology companies, which have powered much of the recent growth in global markets -- something SoftBank has been gambling on with its Vision Funds of speculative tech bets.
SoftBank is “a poster child of a firm highly leveraged to the current asset bubbles,” wrote Amir Anvarzadeh, senior strategist at Asymmetric Advisors Pte., who recommends shorting the stock. “This latest lurch down in its value could add further pressure on its financing structure.”
Shares in SoftBank traded at their lowest level since May 2020, with reports that a planned sale of its Arm Ltd. chip unit to Nvidia Corp. was likely to fall through also weighing on the stock. Analysts noted that the failure of the deal could lead to a credit downgrade.
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The investment giant was far from alone. Sony Group Corp., which unlike SoftBank has predictable revenue and income streams and is forecasting its best-ever year of profit, dropped as much as 8%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell as much as 3.6%, the biggest intraday fall since February 2021.
The more speculative Mothers index of Japanese tech startups plunged as much as 7.1%, its steepest tumble since coronavirus-inspired panic first hit markets in early March 2020. In South Korea, the Kosdaq index dropped nearly 4%, although the nation’s largest company, Samsung Electronics Co., fell less than the market after reporting a record quarter of sales. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Tech Index tumbled as much as 4.7%.
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