Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark retreating from its highest close since May, after Japan’s exports fell for a third month and on signs China’s manufacturing may contract for an 11th month.
Kyocera Corp. (6971), a maker of electronic parts that gets more than half of its sales outside Japan, slid 3.2 percent. Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. (9432) surged 7.1 percent after Japan’s leading fixed-line phone company said it plans to buy back as much as 3.4 percent of its shares. Billabong International Ltd. (BBG) slumped 7.3 percent as a second bidder withdrew from the sale of Australia’s largest surfwear company.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 1.3 percent to 122.60 as of 6:30 p.m. in Tokyo, with about four stocks falling for each that rose. The equity gauge yesterday rallied to its highest since May 3 as central banks from Europe to the U.S. and Japan took action to stimulate growth.
“We’ve very concerned about the near-term outlook for the global economic picture,” said Peter Elston, Singapore-based head of Asia-Pacific strategy at Aberdeen Asset Management, which oversees about $270 billion. “There’s some fairly significant weakness just around the corner and that’s going to have a fairly big impact on corporates and markets. We’re fairly cautious,” he told Bloomberg TV.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average slid 1.6 percent after a Finance Ministry report today showed exports from the world’s third-largest economy declined 5.8 percent in August from a year earlier.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index (AS51) lost 0.5 percent, South Korea’s Kospi Index slipped 0.9 percent and Singapore’s Straits Times Index declined 0.4 percent.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 0.3 percent today. The gauge rose 0.1 percent yesterday, snapping a two-day decline, after the Bank of Japan (8301) increased its asset-purchase target and sales of existing U.S. homes rose more than expected.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost 1.2 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite dropped 2.1 percent as a preliminary report today showed China’s manufacturing may contract for an 11th month in September. The reading was 47.8 for a purchasing managers’ index released by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics. A number below 50 signals a contraction.
Exporters fell, with Kyocera sliding 3.2 percent to 6,700 yen. Canon Inc., a camera maker that gets 80 percent of its sales overseas, fell 3.2 percent to 2,771 yen. TDK Corp., a Japanese manufacturer of electronic parts that gets more than 25 percent of its revenue from China, declined 3.2 percent to 3,135 yen.
The MSCI Asia Pacific (MXAP) Index gained 9.1 percent this year through yesterday compared with a 16 percent increase on the S&P 500 and a 12 percent advance for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. The Asian benchmark traded at 12.9 times estimated earnings compared with 14.1 for the S&P 500 and 12.2 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.6 percent after a report today showed the nation’s economic growth slowed less than forecast last quarter. Taiwan’s Taiex Index dropped 0.7 percent.
Billabong tumbled 7.3 percent to A$1.34 in Sydney, the biggest decline in two months, amid concern TPG may reduce its offer after a competing bidder walked away.
Luk Fook Holdings International Ltd. (590) fell 6.8 percent to HK$24.85. Paul Law, the company’s executive director and financial controller, will resign Dec. 1, the jeweler said yesterday.
Among stocks that rose, Nippon Telegraph advanced 7.1 percent to 3,855 yen. NTT will buy back as many as 42 million shares of common stock from Sept. 20 until March 29 “to improve capital efficiency,” the company said yesterday in a statement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
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