Sun, Jun 03, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Asian stocks fall for fifth week on Europe outlook


Asian stocks fell for a fifth week, the regional index’s longest streak of weekly losses in a year, as Spain’s borrowing costs soared and amid further signs that China’s economic slowdown is deepening, dimming the outlook for companies dependent on global demand.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell to levels last seen in December last year, with Japan’s TOPIX recording a ninth week of decline, the longest such run since 1975. HSBC Holdings PLC, Europe’s biggest lender, fell 3 percent. China Railway Construction Corp (中國鐵建股份有限公司) dropped more than 7 percent as China’s industrial production expanded at a slower rate and the country ruled out stimulus measures on a scale similar to 2008.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.2 percent to 111.38 last week. The gauge dropped 10 percent last month, the most since October 2008, as economic reports showed the economies of China and the US slowing, while the debt crisis that began in Greece spreads to larger countries in Europe.

The losses erased US$4.5 trillion in global equity value last month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That dragged the value of shares on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index to 11.4 times estimated earnings, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with 12.2 times for Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies and 9.8 times for the STOXX Europe 600.

Taipei’s benchmark TAIEX on Friday tumbled 2.68 percent, or 195.41 points, from Thursday to 7,106.09. The TAIEX gained 0.5 percent this week.

Japan’s TOPIX declined 1.8 percent as it fell for a ninth week, its longest losing streak since September 1975, as Europe’s crisis crimped the outlook for exporters and sent the yen to its highest level against the euro since 2000. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 1.6 percent.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.9 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI increased 0.6 percent. Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index slipped 0.8 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks shares on China’s biggest stock market, increased 1.7 percent amid speculation that slowing manufacturing activity and lower home prices give the government room for additional measures to support the economy.

Companies that do business in Europe declined. Canon Inc, the Japanese camera maker that counts Europe as its largest market, dropped 5.6 percent to ¥3,050 in Tokyo. HSBC fell 3 percent to HK$60.85 in Hong Kong. Hutchison Whampoa Ltd (和記黃埔) the port operator that gets about 55 percent of revenue from Europe fell 3.8 percent to HK$64.

China has no plan to introduce stimulus measures on the scale deployed during the global financial crisis to counter this year’s economic slowdown, Xinhua news agency reported. The government has cut banks’ reserve ratios three times since November last year and vowed to fast-track infrastructure projects to boost growth.

In other markets on Friday:

Manila closed 0.56 percent lower, shedding 28.79 points from Thursday to 5,062.44.

Wellington fell 1.04 percent, or 36.29 points, from Thursday to 3,452.00.

Mumbai fell 1.56 percent, or 253.37 points, from Thursday to 15,965.19.

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