Sun, Oct 28, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Asian firms miss targets, send stocks plummeting


Asian stocks fell this week, with the regional index erasing the month’s gains, as companies including Fanuc Corp and China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd reported earnings that missed estimates amid global growth concerns.

Fanuc, an industrial robots maker, slid 5.4 percent in Tokyo, while China Unicom Ltd (中國聯通), China’s No. 2 cellphone firm, sank 5.8 percent in Hong Kong. Tohoku Electric Power Co plunged 21 percent, leading declines among Japanese utilities on concern higher fuel prices will crimp earnings. Jupiter Telecommunications Co jumped 31 percent in Osaka as KDDI Corp and Sumitomo Corp offered as much as ¥216 billion (US$2.7 billion) to buy the rest of the company.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 1.6 percent this week to 121.54, paring the measure’s rebound from a June 4 low to less than 12 percent. Shares had risen as central banks in Europe, the US and China added stimulus to prop up growth.

“External factors such as the European debt crisis and the US elections are still the biggest risks for the market,” said Angus Gluskie, managing director at White Funds Management in Sydney, which manages more than US$350 million. “Earnings are hostage to these macroeconomic factors.”

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index traded at 12.9 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.5 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.1 for the STOXX Europe 600 Index.

Taiwan’s TAIEX slid 3.7 percent this week to 7,134.06, down from 7,408.76 on Oct. 19, China’s Shanghai Composite Index dropped 2.9 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index retreated 2.2 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 0.8 percent even as the yen closed on Thursday at below 80 to the US dollar for the first time since June.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was little changed for the week after snapping on Friday its longest streak of gains since 2006.

South Korea’s KOSPI sank 2.7 percent after Bank of Korea data on Thursday showed the nation’s GDP expanded 1.6 percent in the three months to last month from a year earlier, the slowest in three years.

Of the 134 MSCI Asia Pacific Index members that reported earnings by 5:30pm on Friday, and for which Bloomberg News had estimates, about 58 percent fell short of projections.

Canon Inc, the world’s largest camera maker, fell 3.4 percent to ¥2,560 in Tokyo.

China Unicom retreated 5.8 percent through the week in Hong Kong after third-quarter net income rose 27 percent to 2.02 billion yuan (US$324 million).

Among stocks that rose after reporting earnings, Macquarie Group Ltd, Australia’s largest investment bank, advanced 3.5 percent to A$30.85 after saying its first-half profit increased 18 percent from a year earlier on increased earnings from its fixed-income, currency and commodity trading businesses.

In other markets on Friday:

Wellington closed down, falling 0.17 percent, or 6.71 points, from Thursday to 3,983.78.

Mumbai fell 0.71 percent, or 133.29 points, to 18,625.34.

Manila was closed for public holidays.

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