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Asia Stocks Swing Between Gains and Losses on U.S. Economy, Gold

Asian stocks swung between gains and losses after reports showed consumer spending in the U.S. increased less than economists’ estimates and sales of previously owned homes fell. Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM) gained as gold prices rose.

Newcrest Mining, Australia’s No. 1 gold producer, gained 0.8 percent in Sydney. Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., the world’s biggest shipbuilder, increased 2.6 percent in Seoul after BNP Paribas raised its share-price forecast. Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest maker of televisions and flat-screen panels, lost 0.8 percent. Honda Motor Co., which gets about 44 percent of sales in North America, dropped 1 percent after hackers accessed personal data of customers in Canada.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.2 percent to 134.67 as of 12:24 p.m. in Tokyo, with the regional benchmark index swinging between gains and losses at least five times. About five stocks climbed for every four that fell on the gauge, which last week completed its longest string of weekly losses in two years as concern deepened over Europe’s debt crisis and amid speculation a slowing global recovery will crimp earnings.

“Equity markets will continue to have a correction as leading indicators in the U.S. are softening,” Pu Yonghao, Hong Kong-based chief investment strategist for Asia Pacific at UBS Wealth Management, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “The market is basically waiting for a confirmation that the U.S. economic recovery is genuine.”

Japan’s Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average fell 0.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi Index lost 0.1 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.2 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.3 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index added 0.3 percent.

‘Tipping Point of Correction’

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.1 percent today. In New York, the index advanced 0.4 percent to 1,330.10 on May 27 as comments from the Group of Eight about the global economy’s strength offset a slump in home sales that was 12 times faster than projected. U.S. markets are closed today for memorial day.

Nouriel Roubini, the economist who predicted the global financial crisis, said on May 27 stock markets are at the “tipping point” of a correction as economic growth may begin to slow.

The number of Americans signing contracts to buy previously owned homes fell 12 percent last month, the second-biggest drop in a decade’s worth of records, data from the National Association of Realtors released in Washington on May 27 showed. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey called for a 1 percent decline.

Household spending in the U.S. rose 0.4 percent in April after a revised 0.5 percent March gain, Commerce Department figures released in Washington on May 27 showed. The median forecast of 81 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected consumer spending would rise 0.5 percent last month. Estimates ranged from gains of 0.3 percent to 0.6 percent

To contact the reporters on this story: Jonathan Burgos in Singapore at jburgos4@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at ngentle2@bloomberg.net.

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