Tags: Asia | stocks | confidence | Hong Kong

Asian Stocks Slide for Fourth Day on US Confidence, Hong Kong

Wednesday, 01 October 2014 09:56 AM

Asian stocks fell, with the benchmark index heading for a fourth day of losses, after consumer confidence in the U.S. unexpectedly declined and Hong Kong braced for bigger protests as Chinese holidays started.

Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. paced losses among South Korean exporters after reports showed the nation’s industrial production unexpectedly dropped and export growth missed estimates. Ibiden Co. plunged 15 percent in Tokyo after the maker of ceramics and electronics components cut its full-year profit forecast. Mermaid Marine Australia Ltd. jumped 8.8 percent in Sydney after Deutsche Bank AG raised the logistics company’s rating to buy.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.5 percent to 139.64 as of 3:13 p.m. in Tokyo after retreating to a four-month low yesterday. The measure capped its biggest monthly decline in more than two years in September amid concern Chinese economic growth is slowing and that the Federal Reserve may increase U.S. borrowing costs sooner as it ends asset purchases. China’s manufacturing stayed subdued last month, government data released today showed.

“The slowdown in China remains a big concern, with retail sales and manufacturing remaining weak,” Desmond Chua, a strategist at CMC Markets in Singapore, said by phone. “Investors are also worried about the timing of U.S. interest rates and what’s happening in Hong Kong.”

China’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index was at 51.1 in September, compared with the 51 median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of economists and unchanged from August’s reading. Figures above 50 signal expansion.

China’s Economy

A pullback in manufacturing, declining industrial profits, and factory-output growth at a five-year low point to a deepening economic slowdown in China. Authorities have been reluctant to use broader stimulus to prop up growth as they seek to curb debt risks, instead taking targeted steps such as yesterday’s easing of mortgage policies to aid the housing market. Markets in the mainland are shut through Oct. 7 for holidays, while those in Hong Kong are closed today and tomorrow.

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was jeered by pro-democracy demonstrators at a ceremony to hoist the Chinese flag as the city entered the sixth day of protests seeking free elections. The ceremony was held near the main protests in Admiralty, where organizers estimated more than 100,000 people gathered overnight to demand Leung step aside and China drop plans to vet candidates for the 2017 vote.

Growing Concern

Crowds had thinned from their peak, with thousands remaining in Admiralty and the shopping districts of Causeway Bay and Mong Kok this afternoon. Police haven’t given any forecasts for the crowds. More protesters may join the gatherings during National Day and tomorrow’s Chung Yeung Festival holiday, when Hong Kong residents honor their ancestors.

“There’s growing concern about the Hong Kong situation,” Nader Naeimi, who helps manage about $125 billion as head of dynamic asset allocation at Sydney-based AMP Capital Investors Ltd., said by phone. “If the protests continue, there’s a risk some businesses may pull out.”

South Korea’s Kospi index sank 1.4 percent, the most since March 12. The country’s industrial output unexpectedly dropped 2.8 percent in August from a year earlier, missing analysts’ expectation for a 2 percent gain. Exports climbed 6.8 percent in September from a year earlier, short of estimates for a 6.9 percent advance.

Trading Errors

Japan’s Topix index fell 0.6 percent after rising 0.3 percent earlier. Orders for shares in 42 companies, including Toyota Motor Corp., totaling 67.78 trillion yen ($617 billion) were canceled, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the Japan Securities Dealers Association.

Singapore’s Straits Times Index slipped 0.4 percent. India’s S&P BSE Sensex index dropped 0.1 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex index added 0.3 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.7 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.4 percent.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.1 percent. The underlying equity measure lost 0.3 percent yesterday as small-cap and energy shares slumped amid a decline in consumer confidence.

Confidence among U.S. consumers fell to a four-month low in September as views of the labor market deteriorated. The Conference Board’s index decreased to 86 last month, weaker than the most pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists, from an August reading of 93.4 that was the strongest since October 2007.

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Asian stocks fell, with the benchmark index heading for a fourth day of losses, after consumer confidence in the U.S. unexpectedly declined and Hong Kong braced for bigger protests as Chinese holidays started.
Asia, stocks, confidence, Hong Kong
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 09:56 AM
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