Asian stocks, excluding Japan, declined this week as companies including QBE Insurance Group and Tencent Holdings (騰訊) warned of slower earnings growth. Japanese shares rose ahead of next month’s elections.
QBE Insurance fell 15 percent in Sydney after Australia’s biggest insurer said claims in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in the US would dent full-year profit. Tencent slid 7 percent in Hong Kong as the operator of online games said revenue growth would slow after reporting profit that missed estimates. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc, Japan’s biggest bank, rose 3.1 percent in Tokyo on speculation the elections would hand power to an opposition party advocating more aggressive monetary easing.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Excluding Japan Index slid 1.2 percent this week, trimming to 10 percent the gauge’s gain through Friday from this year’s low on June 4, as central banks added stimulus to spur economic growth and data showed a slowdown in China may be ending.
“Confidence is crucial,” said Jing Ulrich, Hong Kong-based chairwoman of global markets at the China division of JPMorgan Chase & Co. “The economy is beginning to stabilize. Maybe in the coming few months, we’ll see corporate earnings recover. We are already seeing signs of recovery in things like power generation, retail sales, industrial production and, surprisingly, Chinese exports have performed better than expected.”
Taiwan’s TAIEX slid 2.2 percent this week to 7.130.07, exchange data showed. Smartphone vendor HTC Corp (宏達電) steamed ahead on Friday after a recommendation upgrade by Morgan Stanley following the resolution of its patent dispute with Apple Inc. However, lingering concerns over the global economy kept many investors from pushing the broader market higher and dragged down the index at the end of the session, dealers said.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index also decreased 2.8 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI dropped 2.3 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 1.1 percent, while the Shanghai Composite slid 2.6 percent.
Bucking the trend, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 3 percent. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda dissolved parliament on Friday, triggering an election on Dec. 16 that polls suggest his Democratic Party of Japan will lose.
In other markets on Friday:
Wellington ended flat, edging down 3.66 points from Thursday to 3,947.84.
Manila rose 0.45 percent, or 24.46 points to 5,439.28.
Mumbai fell 0.88 percent, or 162 points to 18,309.37.