Asian stocks headed for a weekly drop as Chinese shares retreated and investors weighed mixed earnings reports before central bank meetings and the US presidential election.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.7 percent to 138.77 as of 4:02pm on Friday. The index is 0.7 percent lower than Friday last week’s 139.70.
Taiwanese stocks on Friday rose slightly, closing above 9,300 points as investors were reluctant to chase prices amid lingering caution over ongoing earnings seasons at home and on Wall Street, dealers said.
The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange closed up 7.37 points, or 0.08 percent, at 9,306.92. The index was little changed from Friday last week’s 9,306.57 points.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.8 percent with declines accelerating in afternoon trading as buying via an exchange link with China slowed.
The Shanghai Composite Index on Friday lost 0.3 percent, but is up 0.4 percent for the week.
Japan’s TOPIX advanced to a six-month high as the yen touched a three-month low against the US dollar, boosting the outlook for exporters’ earnings.
Earnings from Asia-Pacific have been a mixed bag this week, with just half of the companies that have reported so far beating estimates for profit.
Investors are wary of taking big positions before the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) monetary policy review on Tuesday, the US Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday and the U.S. presidential election on Tuesday next week.
“There are so many risk events coming up, people just sort of want to get those out of the way before they commit,” Sydney-based Rivkin Securities strategist James Woods said. “There’s quite a bit of cash sitting on the sidelines, waiting to be deployed.”
Financial shares led gains in Japan as Nomura Holdings Inc rose 5.2 percent after second-quarter net income beat estimates to jump 31 percent. Exporters, including automakers and electric-appliance manufacturers, also supported the TOPIX as the yen fell 1.4 percent this week.
The nation’s consumer prices fell for a seventh straight month, while household spending slumped last month, data showed on Friday, underscoring the challenges Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda face in trying to revive the world’s third-largest economy.
South Korea’s KOSPI fell 0.2 percent, as did Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index, while New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index closed little changed. United Overseas Bank Ltd (大華資產管理), Southeast Asia’s third-largest lender, fell 2.1 percent, the most in three months, in Singapore, dragging the Straits Times Index down 0.7 percent.
The Philippine Stock Exchange Index lost 0.5 percent in its seventh straight day of declines.
Investors, especially overseas funds, have turned cautious as Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s rhetoric has worried the market, said Andrew Inovero, a trust officer at Malayan Bank in Manila.
Additional reporting by CNA
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