Asian stocks fell this week, with the benchmark measure capping its longest weekly losing streak since June, amid concern that the US Federal Reserve may soon decide that the US economy is strong enough to begin paring stimulus and as investors awaited a meeting of China’s leaders this weekend.
Samsung Electronics Co, which counts the US as its biggest sales market, dropped 6 percent for the week in Seoul, while Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd (中國工商銀行) fell 3.7 percent in Hong Kong ahead of the start of China’s leadership plenum yesterday.
Toyota Motor Corp, the world’s biggest carmaker, lost 2.1 percent after a profit forecast missed estimates, while Japan’s Coca-Cola West Co posted the MSCI Asia Pacific Index’s fifth-biggest gain of the week after net income surged.
The regional index dropped 1.6 percent to 138.98 since Nov. 1, capping a 3.1 percent three-week drop. US economic growth accelerated to a 2.8 percent annualized rate last quarter, data showed on Thursday, beating analyst estimates and spurring speculation that the Fed may pare asset purchases sooner than previously anticipated.
China’s leaders are meeting in Beijing from yesterday to map out reforms as the world’s No. 2 economy heads for its slowest growth in more than two decades.
In Taipei, the TAIEX fell 1.9 percent this week to end at 8,229.59, compared with 8,388.18 on Nov. 1.
The bellwether electronics sector — especially large-cap stocks — came under heavier pressure on Friday as investors took notice of a dive on the tech-heavy NASDAQ index overnight, dealers said.
Many old-economy stocks also pulled back as investors seized on the negative external leads as a reason to lock in gains they had built in recent sessions, dealers added.
On Friday, the local bourse fell 0.65 percent, or 54.12 points, on turnover of NT$73.2 billion (US$2.49 billion), with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) dropping 0.93 percent to NT$106 and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) shedding 0.81 percent to finish at NT$73.5. Personal computer vendor Asustek Computer Inc (華碩) lost 1.32 percent to end at NT$225 and rival Acer Inc (宏碁) shed 2.37 percent to close at NT$16.50.
Concord Securities analyst Kerry Huang said he suspected many foreign institutional investors cut their positions in market heavyweights, such as TSMC and Nan Ya Plastics Corp (南亞塑膠), after the plunge on Wall Street.
Bucking the downtrend of the broader market, Asia Pacific Telecom Co (亞太電信) rose 1.96 percent to end at NT$18.20 after MSCI Inc added the stock to the Taiwan index of the MSCI Global Standard Indices following a semi-annual index review.
However, MSCI cut Taiwan’s weighting in the MSCI All Country World Index, the MSCI All Country Asia Index — excluding Japan — and the MSCI Emerging Markets Index by 0.01 percentage points, 0.05 percentage points and 0.11 percentage points respectively.
“The weighting downgrade was widely expected. The local market is being largely dictated by the Fed factor for the moment,” Huang said.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s TOPIX slid 0.6 percent this week while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.2 percent and Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 0.8 percent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 2.2 percent, the Shanghai Composite slid 2 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI slumped 2.7 percent.
In other markets on Friday: