Sun, Aug 31, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Asian stocks decline over earnings, Ukraine worries

Agencies and staff writer, with CNA

Asia’s benchmark stock gauge posted its first monthly decline since April, as investors weighed the conflict in Ukraine and company earnings. Material and consumer shares retreated.

Aluminum Corp of China Ltd (中國鋁業公司) slumped 4.6 percent in Hong Kong after China’s biggest producer of the light metal reported a wider first-half loss amid lower prices. CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd (石藥集團有限公司) tumbled 5.7 percent after a shareholder said it would sell an 11 percent stake in the Hong Kong-based company.

National Australia Bank Ltd, the nation’s largest lender by assets, gained 1.2 percent after saying it plans to sell its US unit to free up capital and focus on its domestic business.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dipped to 147.91 in Hong Kong on Friday, down 0.6 percent on a weekly and monthly basis. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index retreated below 2,000 on Thursday as violence in Ukraine and disappointing retail earnings outweighed data showing the US economy expanded more than previously estimated last quarter.

“Geopolitical risk reared its ugly head yet again,” said Stan Shamu, a Melbourne-based market strategist at IG Ltd. “News that Ukraine-Russia tension is flaring up again sharply spooked investors. The negative at play for Japanese equities at the moment is the fact safe-haven flows favoring the yen might put on pressure as geopolitical risk escalates.”

Japan’s TOPIX slipped 0.2 percent on Friday, as the nation’s currency headed for its first weekly advance in three weeks. Core consumer prices increased 3.3 percent from a year earlier last month, holding at the same pace as June and meeting analysts’ estimates, a report showed.

In Taipei, the TAIEX declined 0.4 percent this week to 9,436.27. On Friday, Taiwanese shares extended losses from a session earlier following overnight losses on Wall Street and renewed geopolitical concerns related to Ukraine, dealers said.

Selling was seen almost across the board and non-tech stocks faced heavier downward pressure following recent gains, while the bellwether electronics sector consolidated, the dealers said.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index erased losses in the final hour of trading, closing little changed. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index climbed 0.3 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index surged 1 percent.

South Korea’s KOSPI slid 0.3 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed, and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index lost 0.3 percent.

In other markets on Friday

Bangkok rose 0.17 percent, or 2.58 points, from Thursday to 1,561.63.

Kuala Lumpur lost 0.51 percent, or 9.57 points, to 1,866.11.

Jakarta ended down 0.92 percent, or 47.62 points, at 5,136.86.

Singapore closed down 0.09 percent, or 3.13 points, to 3,327.09.

Manila closed 0.7 percent lower, giving up 49.81 points to 7,050.89.

Mumbai was closed for a public holiday.

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