Sun, Sep 30, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Asian stocks drop on Europe, growth issues


Asian stocks fell a second week amid concern political discord would prevent Europe from resolving its debt crisis as global growth slows. Losses were limited on speculation China would take new steps to boost the world’s second-largest economy.

Esprit Holdings Ltd, a clothier that counts Europe as its largest market, sank 6.6 percent in Hong Kong after missing earnings estimates. Woongjin Coway Co slumped 24 percent in Seoul after the water-purifier maker’s parent filed for bankruptcy protection. United Spirits Ltd surged about 24 percent in Mumbai after London-based Diageo PLC confirmed it was in talks to buy the maker of whiskies and brandies.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.8 percent to 122.47 this week, its second-straight weekly loss. The gauge gained 4 percent for the month as central banks from Europe, the US, Japan and China took action to support economic growth.

“A period of consolidation in the month ahead looks the more likely outcome,” said George Boubouras, Melbourne-based head of investment strategy at UBS AG’s Australian wealth management unit. “In Europe, there will continue to be some lingering challenges.”

Stocks on Asia’s benchmark index were valued at about 12.8 times estimated earnings on average, compared with about 13.9 times for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 11.9 times for the STOXX Europe 600, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In Taipei, the TAIEX surged past the 7,700-point mark on Friday, bolstered by buying in select large-cap stocks, such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海), dealers said.

Certain China-concept stocks, in particular retailers with close business ties with China, also attracted buying on hopes that Beijing would come up with stimulus measures to boost domestic demand, they said.

The TAIEX closed up 31.36 points, or 0.4 percent, at 7,715.16 on Friday, but it was slightly down 0.5 percent for the week, Taiwan Stock Exchange figures showed.

Market sentiment remained cautious toward the world’s economic climate, causing many investors to stay on the sidelines and keeping the daily trading volume moderate, dealers said

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average sank 2.6 percent this week as industrial production fell more than economists forecast last month and a territorial dispute between Japan and China intensified. Automakers declined as violent protests against Japanese businesses in China forced production cuts.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index added 2.9 percent to 2,086.169 amid expectation the government would offer measures to boost the equities market after the gauge dipped below 2,000. All the index’s gains this week came on Thursday after a Shanghai Securities News report the regulator might introduce measures to buoy stocks.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 0.5 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.5 percent. South Korea’s KOSPI slid 0.3 percent as the nation’s industrial production fell more than expected last month.

In other markets on Friday:

Wellington closed 0.66 percent, or 25.12 points, higher from Thursday at 3,834.15.

Manila closed 0.84 percent higher, adding 44.61 points to 5,346.10.

Mumbai gained 0.99 percent, or 183.24 points, to 18,762.74.

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