Sun, Nov 08, 2015 - Page 15 News List

Asian stocks slide as investors await report on US jobs


Asian stocks retreated on Friday as investors awaited US jobs data to gauge whether the economy is strong enough to withstand the first US Federal Reserve interest-rate increase in almost a decade.

Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd dropped 7.8 percent in Tokyo after the tire maker lowered its forecast for full-year operating profit. Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd slumped 14 percent in Mumbai, the most since March 2004, after receiving a warning letter from the US Food & Drug Administration over manufacturing facilities making pharmaceutical ingredients and oncology products. Asciano Ltd jumped 8.1 percent in Sydney after Brookfield Infrastructure Partners bought a stake in the Australian rail and port operator and agreed to buy more shares to fend off a challenge to its proposed acquisition.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.1 percent to 134.62 at 4:08pm Hong Kong time, paring its weekly rise to 0.1 percent.

Economists expected the US jobs report on Friday to show an increase of 185,000 non-farm workers, compared with a gain of 142,000 the previous month. Federal Reserve officials underlined this week that the central bank is still data dependent. The prospect of higher US borrowing costs this year has muddied the rally in global stocks from last quarter’s selloff, with central banks in Japan and the eurozone remaining coy over whether they will bolster stimulus.

“The market is on tenterhooks ahead of the US non-farm payrolls,” Melbourne-based IG Markets Ltd analyst Angus Nicholson said by telephone. “US data has been somewhat mixed, but the market has been responding more strongly to the Fed statements this week that they could hike rates this year.”

The TAIEX fell the most in six weeks after disappointing earnings from Acer Inc (宏碁) quelled a rally that drove the benchmark index to the cusp of a bull market.

The TAIEX slid 1.8 percent to 8,693.57 at the close, the steepest loss since Sept. 23. Acer tumbled 6 percent after posting an operating loss in the third quarter. Liquid crystal display maker AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) sank 3.8 percent after last month’s sales fell. The stock gauge has rebounded 17 percent from this year’s low on Aug. 24.

“Some industries are in bad shape,” said Michael On, president at Beyond Asset Management Co. in Taipei. “Investors are worried about the economic outlook next year.

The TAIEX’s 14-day relative strength index, measuring how rapidly prices have advanced or dropped during a specified time period, rose to 67.9 this week, near the 70 threshold indicating stocks may fall. The gauge is valued at 12.7 times its 12-month projected earnings, lower than the five-year average of the multiple of 13.6, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 0.8 percent. South Korea’s KOSPI lost 0.4 percent. New Zealand’s S&P NZX 50 Index fell 0.1 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index decreased 0.4 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.4 percent. Japan’s TOPIX added 0.6 percent, capping a third weekly gain, as a weaker yen boosted exporters.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index climbed 1.9 percent as shares of brokerages, technology and consumer companies rallied after the benchmark index entered a bull market.

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