Sun, Oct 14, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Asian stocks fall most in two months after IMF cut

DOWNWARD SPIRAL:Analysts said China’s slowdown coupled with EU woes and a declining Japanese industry were responsible for dragging down stocks across Asia


Asian stocks fell this week, posting the biggest weekly decline on the regional gauge since August, after the IMF cut its forecast for global growth and Spain had its credit rating downgraded.

Toyota Motor Corp, Asia’s largest carmaker by market value, dropped 3.7 percent after reporting its biggest drop in China sales since at least 2008. Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, an operator of ports and telephone companies which gets 55 percent of sales in Europe, slid 1.2 percent. Softbank Corp plunged 21 percent, the biggest slide since October 2008, after Japan’s third-biggest phone operator said it is in talks to invest in loss-making Sprint Nextel Corp.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 1.5 percent to 120.78 this past week, the biggest weekly drop since the final week of August. The IMF cut its global growth forecast, Japanese car sales fell in China and Spain’s debt rating was lowered two levels to “BBB-” from “BBB+”, citing mounting economic and political risks.

“We are clearly seeing the impact of a Chinese slowdown globally,” said Nader Naeimi, Sydney-based head of dynamic asset allocation at AMP Capital Investors Ltd.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index has gained 6.1 percent this year as central banks in Europe, the US, Japan and China added stimulus measures to counter a global economic slowdown and the European debt crisis. The Asian benchmark traded at 12.78 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.61 times for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 11.96 times for the STOXX Europe 600 Index.

Taiwan’s TAIEX Index fell 0.2 percent on Friday. The gauge has lost 3.3 percent this week, its largest drop in three months.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong climbed 1 percent, poised for the highest close in five months.

The Jakarta Composite index added 0.5 percent. The BSE India Sensitive Index fell 0.6 percent while Russia’s MICEX slid 0.7 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 3.7 percent, its biggest weekly decline since May. Japanese Minister of Economy Seiji Maehara said he has a “sense of crisis” as the government downgraded its economic assessment for a third month, the longest streak since the 2009 global recession.

The biggest declines in more than a year for Fast Retailing Co and Softbank dragged the Nikkei 225 Stock Average to its fourth day of declines on Friday. Without those two companies, the benchmark gauge would have risen 1.4 percent yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.4 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.6 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.9 percent. South Korea’s KOSPI Index slipped 3.1 percent.

Singapore’s Straits Times Index retreated 2.1 percent for its biggest weekly decline since May. The country’s central bank unexpectedly refrained from easing monetary policy even as the economy contracted last quarter, saying inflation will remain elevated for some time.

Toyota and Honda reported China sales plunged after rioters torched dealerships and smashed cars in protests sparked by the territorial dispute. Japanese auto brands may lose their market- share lead in the country for the first time since 2005, according to data from the China Passenger Car Association. Toyota lost 3.7 percent to ¥2,934, while Honda dropped 3.5 percent to ¥2,338.

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