Asian stocks continue to fall on growth concerns


Sun, Aug 21, 2011 - Page 10

Asian stocks fell, with the regional index declining for a fourth straight week, as the global stock rout continued amid signs the world economy is slowing and Europe’s debt crisis will damage the banking system.

“Everything that’s going on is just eating away at investor confidence,” said Matt Riordan, who helps manage almost US$6.6 billion in Sydney at Paradice Investment Management Pty.

“Business confidence is tailing off and global growth slowing, and Europe’s debt situation appears to be getting worse and worse without any coordinated policy response,” he added.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 2 percent this week to 119.53.

Stocks have fallen 14 percent in the past four weeks as investors took fright after a deadlock in the US Congress brought the government to the brink of default, economic reports showed the world’s biggest economy is slowing and concern grew Europe’s sovereign debt crisis will spread.

The TAIEX on Friday retreated 272.01 points, or 3.6 percent, to 7,342.96, the lowest close since July 2 last year.

The measure has dropped 3.9 percent this week, a fourth weekly decline and the longest series of losses since October 2008.

Honda Motor Co slipped 5.3 percent in Tokyo. Hynix Semiconductor Inc, the world’s second-largest computer memory chipmaker, tumbled 21 percent in Seoul after Dell Inc lowered its sales forecast for this year.

HSBC Holdings PLC, Europe’s biggest lender by market value, dropped 2.9 percent on concern the worsening debt crisis in Europe could freeze interbank markets and cut off funding.

An index of Japan’s 30 biggest companies hit a record low.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average decreased 2.7 percent. Carmakers and electronics manufacturers dropped after the yen appreciated toward its post-World War II high of ¥76.25 against the US dollar reached on May 17, hurting the outlook for export earnings.

The Topix Core 30 index, which includes Panasonic Corp, Honda and Nomura Holdings Inc, hit its lowest mark in at least 22 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Sony Corp, Japan’s No. 1 exporter of consumer electronics, fell 2.1 percent to ¥1,594. Toyota Motor Corp, the world’s biggest carmaker, lost 1.8 percent to ¥2,768. Smaller rivals Honda dropped 5.3 percent to ¥2,403, while Nissan Motor Co sank 5.8 percent to ¥653.

South Korea’s KOSPI dropped 2.7 percent. China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell 2.3 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 1.1 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 1.7 percent.

Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 4.1 percent this week as Morgan Stanley cut its outlook on the MSCI Singapore Index to a 5 percent loss from a 22 percent gain, saying the city is likely to be the “most significantly impacted” by slowing global growth among Southeast Asian nations.

Computer memory chipmakers tumbled after Dell, the world’s second-largest maker of personal computers, projected growth of 1 percent to 5 percent this year, down from a previous range of 5 percent to 9 percent amid lackluster demand from consumers and market-share gains by Apple Inc.

Samsung Electronics Co, the world’s biggest supplier of computer-memory chips by sales, fell 3.8 percent to 680,000 won in Seoul. Smaller rival Hynix Semiconductor plunged 21 percent to 15,600 won and Japan’s Elpida Memory Inc dropped 11 percent to ¥457 in Tokyo.

In other markets on Friday:

Manila closed 1.44 percent, or 63.64 points, lower from Thursday at 4,339.90.

Wellington closed down 0.56 percent, or 18.38 points, from Thursday at 3,267.84, with a strong performance from Telecom Corp limiting the market’s losses.

Mumbai slid 1.99 percent on Friday, the fourth straight week of losses.

The benchmark 30-share SENSEX on the Bombay Stock Exchange closed down 328.12 points from Thursday to 16,141.67, off the day’s low of 15,987.77, its lowest level in 15 months.