Sun, May 20, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Asian markets tumble, wiping out year’s gains

Bloomberg and AFP, with Staff writer

Asian stocks fell, with a regional index posting its worst week in almost eight months, as Europe’s debt crisis worsened, US economic data missed estimates and Chinese home prices and investment declined.

Samsung Electronics Co, a consumer-electronics maker that receives about 35 percent of sales from Europe and America, sank 11 percent in South Korea. Evergrande Real Estate Group Ltd (恆大地產集團), China’s second-biggest developer by sales volume, plunged 16 percent in Hong Kong after China’s home prices slid in a record number of mainland cities during last month. Hokuetsu Kishu Paper Co dropped 14 percent in Tokyo after forecasting a decline in profit.

“Investor sentiment is at its worst,” said Masaru Hamasaki, chief strategist at Toyota Asset Management Co. “We don’t know what will happen with Greece and when something does happen, we don’t know what impact that will have. All people can do is escape from risks, a so-called panic.”

The MSCI Asia Pacific Japan Index declined 5.1 percent to 112.58 this week, wiping out this year’s gains. That’s the steepest weekly slide since the week ended on Sept. 23 last year.

Almost US$4 trillion has been wiped from global equity markets this month as Greece’s failure to form a government rekindled Europe’s debt crisis and signs of slowing economic growth in China and US damped the outlook for global demand.

Taiwan’s TAIEX closed at 7,151.19 on Friday, tumbling 3.4 percent on the week from the previous Friday’s close.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index slipped 2.1 percent this week after the nation’s home prices fell from a year earlier last month in a record 46 of 70 cities tracked by the government, as officials pledged to keep restrictions on property purchases that have sapped buyer demand. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index sank 5.1 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average decreased 3.8 percent this week. The broader TOPIX fell 4.3 percent, led by papermakers, capping the longest streak of weekly losses since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index retreated 5.6 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI lost 7 percent.

In other markets on Friday:

Manila skidded 2.74 percent, or 137.60 points, from Thursday to 4,879.42.

Wellington fell 0.57 percent, or 20.07 points, from Thursday to 3,501.44.

Mumbai rose 82.27 points, or 0.51 percent, from Thursday to 16,152.75.

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