Tags: Asia | stocks | Japan | China

Asian Stocks Tumble to Six-Month Low as Equities Rout Continues

Thursday, 16 October 2014 09:49 AM

Asian stocks dropped, with the regional benchmark index heading for its lowest since March, extending a rout in global equities after the yen gained the most against the dollar in six months.

Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest carmaker by market value, was the biggest drag on the Asia-Pacific equity gauge as Japan’s Topix index entered a correction. Japan Display Inc., a maker of screens for Apple Inc., plunged 18 percent in Tokyo on its forecast for a surprise annual loss. Anta Sports Products Ltd. slumped 11 percent after the Chinese maker of athletic apparel said controlling shareholders are selling some shares.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 1.2 percent to 134.94 as of 4:21 p.m. in Hong Kong, poised for its lowest close since March 25. The gauge dropped 8.7 percent from its year high in July through yesterday as the Federal Reserve contemplates when to raise interest rates and a faltering recovery in China and Europe sparks concern global economic growth will slow.

“There’s been a significant correction in U.S. equities and that’s shaken investor confidence,” Toby Lawson, head of futures, options and cash equities trading for Asia-Pacific at Newedge Group SA in Sydney, said by phone. “Geopolitical risks and the spread of Ebola are adding to global economic uncertainties. When the market is a state of flux, everything gets amplified.”

Futures on the S&P 500 added 0.1 percent today. The underlying gauge lost 0.8 percent yesterday, closing at its lowest since April 16. The measure fell as much as 3 percent, the biggest intraday plunge since 2011, after a second Texas health-care worker being diagnosed with Ebola and retail sales dropped more than expected, while a gauge of commodities sank to a five-year low.

Yellen Optimistic

Retail sales in the U.S. dropped more than forecast in September, decreasing 0.3 percent after a 0.6 percent gain in August that was the biggest in four months, Commerce Department figures showed. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.1 percent decline.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen voiced confidence in the durability of the U.S. economic expansion in the face of slowing global growth and turbulent financial markets at a closed-door meeting in Washington last weekend, according to two people familiar with her comments.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 1 percent to the lowest since June 25. Video footage showing police allegedly beating a protester triggered an outcry and swelled turnout at pro- democracy demonstrations. The city’s Chief Executive Leung Chun- ying said his government is ready to meet with student leaders next week to discuss “universal suffrage” as he seeks to end a three-week unrest.

China Data

The Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.7 percent. China data on money supply and aggregate financing for September missed analyst estimates. Foreign direct investment unexpectedly increased from a year earlier, while new yuan loans rose to 857.2 billion yuan ($910 million) from 702.5 billion yuan in October..

Japan’s Topix sank 2.3 percent today as the yen traded at 105.90 per dollar after gaining 1.1 percent yesterday. The equity measure slumped 11 percent from a Sept. 25 high, meeting the common definition of correction. South Korea’s Kospi index slid 0.4 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slipped 0.6 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.2 percent.

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Thursday, 16 October 2014 09:49 AM
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