Sun, Jan 26, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Asian stocks drop fourth week on growth outlook

Agencies, with staff writer

Asian stocks fell this week, posting the longest streak of weekly losses in more than 18 months amid concern growth is slowing in China, the world’s second-largest economy.

CNOOC Ltd (中國海洋石油) slumped 8.7 percent in Hong Kong after an output growth forecast from China’s biggest offshore oil and gas producer fell short of its five-year average target. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd (中國工商銀行) fell 2.5 percent as investors in a troubled trust product distributed by the lender met officials, demanding their money amid concern of a default. Newcrest Mining Ltd, a gold producer, climbed 3.2 percent in Sydney as the precious metal capped a fifth week of gains.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 1.4 percent to 137.64 this week. The gauge fell a fourth straight week as a preliminary survey from HSBC Holdings and Markit Economics indicated Chinese factory output would shrink this month. The measure’s 5.1 percent advance from the end of August pushed valuations on the gauge to 13 times estimated earnings, above the average multiple during the past three years.

“There will be a correction of 10 percent or more,” Monty Guild, chief investment officer of Los Angeles-based Guild Investment Management Inc, said by e-mail about stocks globally. “We see China as an unattractive place to invest.”

Japan’s TOPIX fell 2.5 percent this week and the Nikkei 225 Stock Average declined 2.2 percent as the yen strengthened against the US dollar. South Korea’s KOSPI lost 2.4 percent, Singapore’s Straits Times Index slid 2.3 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index declined 0.4 percent.

Taiwan’s TAIEX was little changed this week at 8,598.31, with reduced turnover on Friday as investors retreated from the trading floor ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, dealers said.

Equity markets will be closed from Tuesday to Feb. 4.

Buying in select large-cap electronics stocks, such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), on Friday helped offset the impact from the losses posted on Wall Street overnight, while the construction sector faced relatively heavy selling due to a new government measure that aims to cap luxury home prices, dealers said.

In the construction sector, which closed down 0.74 percent, Farglory Land Development Co (遠雄建設) lost 1.52 percent to close at NT$48.50 and Chong Hong Construction Co (長虹建設) was down 1.81 percent at NT$81.60.

Meanwhile, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index retreated 1.2 percent on the week, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 2.95 percent and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, known as the H-share gauge of mainland Chinese firms listed in the territory, slipped 1.5 percent.

In other markets on Friday:

Mumbai fell 1.12 percent, or 240.1 points, from Thursday to 21,133.56.

Manila rose 0.35 percent, or 21.45 points, to 6,191.50.

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