Asian stocks fell, dragging the regional gauge down from the highest level in five weeks, as energy shares retreated after oil extended a three-year low. Equities in Tokyo advanced as the yen slid on U.S. elections.
PetroChina Co. sank 2.5 percent and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. fell 1.5 percent in Hong Kong. Honda Motor Co., a carmaker that gets most its sales outside Japan, extended its three-day surge to 9 percent after the yen fell to a seven-year low against the dollar after Republicans took the Senate and extended gains in the House in U.S. midterm elections.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.7 percent to 141.23 as of 4:012 p.m. in Hong Kong. Japan’s Topix index rose 0.2 percent to extend a six-year high, surging since Oct. 31 when the Bank of Japan expanded its stimulus program. Investors will gauge the strength of the U.S. economy when the monthly jobs report is released Nov. 7, the first since the Federal Reserve ended its bond-buying program last month.
“There is some concern that falling oil prices is signalling weak economic growth on a global basis,” Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Philadelphia-based Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, which oversees $67 billion in assets, said in a Bloomberg TV interview. “We have a jobs report coming up on Friday that the market is going to be hinged on.”
Singapore Exchange Ltd. halted trading of securities and derivatives in Southeast Asia’s biggest stock market, citing connectivity problems. The bourse operator stopped trading at 2:51 p.m. local and is investigating the issue, according to a statement on its website.
West Texas Intermediate crude prices extended losses from a three-year low on speculation supply is outpacing demand. Energy shares posted the biggest retreat the 10 industry groups on the MSCI Asia Pacific index. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index declined 0.6 percent and Taiwan’s Taiex Index fell 0.3 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index slipped 0.2 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index lost 0.4 percent.
The yen slid to as low as 114.54 against the dollar, its weakest since November 2007. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda highlighted his determination to stoke inflation in the world’s third-biggest economy, saying there’s no limit to measures he could take to reach its price target.
It’s natural to act if risks to price gains become substantial, and last week’s stimulus was “a true display of the Bank’s unwavering commitment,” Kuroda said in a speech in Tokyo today. “As for measures for additional easing, I don’t think there is a limit, including on bond purchases.”
SoftBank Corp. fell 2.3 percent to 7,840 yen after forecasting its first drop in operating profit in at least nine years as billionaire Masayoshi Son’s goal of creating the world’s largest wireless carrier stalls on losses at Sprint Corp.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed. Morgan Stanley reversed its forecast for the country’s benchmark stocks gauge to gain over the next 12 months. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the nation’s largest lender, added 1 percent after reporting a 9.5 percent increase in first-quarter cash profit on increased revenue and lower charges for bad debts.
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