Sun, Feb 09, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Asian stocks mimic global equity slump

CLOUDY AHEAD:The MSCI Asia Pacific Index posted its sixth week of declines, as Chinese economic data missed estimates and emerging-market currencies dipped

Agencies, TAIPEI and HONG KONG

Asian shares fell this week, with the benchmark index extending its longest streak of weekly declines since June 2011, as investors shunned risk in a global rout that wiped US$1.7 trillion from equities this year.

Honda Motor Co, a Japanese carmaker that gets almost half its revenue in North America, lost 5.5 percent. Lenovo Group (聯想) plunged 16 percent in Hong Kong after the stock was downgraded by at least five brokerages. NGK Insulators surged 10 percent in Tokyo after the ceramic product maker boosted its profit forecast.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 1.1 percent to 133.27 this week, its sixth week of declines and its longest consecutive drop since the seven-week rout through June 17, 2011. The measure fell 4.6 percent last month for its worst start to a year since 2009 as economic data from China missed estimates and emerging-market currencies slumped.

“There will be further consolidation in the market,” Kelly Teoh, Singapore-based strategist at brokerage IG Ltd, said by telephone. “There’s been a reality check for everyone following last year’s market exuberance. People were expecting the global economic recovery to be strong, but now cracks are starting to appear.”

US data released on Friday showed that payrolls increased less than projected last month and the jobless rate unexpectedly dropped to the lowest level in more than five years, clouding the outlook for the US economy. The 113,000 gain in hiring fell short of the 180,000 advance that was the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Unemployment declined to 6.6 percent, the least since October 2008, from 6.7 percent in December.

Taiwan’s TAIEX slid 0.9 percent to 8,387.35 on Friday from 8,462.57 on Jan. 27. Markets were shut from Jan. 28 to Feb. 4.

Taiwanese stocks gained on Friday, extending their momentum from a session earlier as investors reacted positively to a technical rebound staged on Wall Street overnight, dealers said on Friday.

Large-cap electronics stocks — including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) and Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (日月光半導體) — and old economy shares led the advance, but turnover remained below NT$100 billion (US$3.3 billion), with many investors remaining cautious ahead of the release of US non-farm payroll data later that day, they said.

The weighted index closed up 76.34 points, or 0.91 percent, at 8,387.35, after fluctuating between 8,356.93 and 8,409.03, on turnover of NT$95.85 billion.

“The market still needs some time to consolidate before entrenching itself above 8,400 points, where technical resistance is strong,” KGI Securities (凱基證券) analyst Eason Lee said.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.5 percent on the week, as the nation’s central bank left its key interest rate at a record-low 2.5 percent, as predicted by all 32 economists in a Bloomberg survey.

Japan’s TOPIX dropped 2.6 percent, capping a fifth week of declines for its longest losing streak since June 2012. Singapore’s Straits Times Index slipped 0.5 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 1.8 percent, declining for a third week to enter a correction. China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.6 percent on Friday after being closed for the rest of the week due to the Lunar New Year holiday.

The Asia-Pacific gauge traded at 12.5 times estimated earnings on Friday, compared with 15.2 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 13.9 for the STOXX Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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