Most Asian stocks fell as corporate earnings showed mixed results and the Bank of Japan added nothing new to its stimulus pledge. The regional benchmark index remains headed toward its biggest monthly advance since at least December.
Shiseido Co., Asia’s biggest cosmetics maker, slumped 8.3 percent in Tokyo after reducing its dividend. Advantest dropped 7.9 percent after the maker of chip testers posted an unexpected loss on falling computer demand. BYD Co., the Chinese automaker partially owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., jumped 12 percent in Hong Kong after saying first-half earnings will surge.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.1 percent to 139.79 at 7:11 p.m. in Tokyo, erasing a gain of 0.4 percent. About two stocks dropped for each that rose. The measure is heading for a 2.6 percent advance this week, while having gained 3.1 percent this month.
“Profit results look OK,” said Shane Oliver, Sydney-based head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., which has $126 billion under management. “Investors are giving Japan the benefit of the doubt. If it’s a good profit or economic figure, investors say it’s good. And if it’s a bad one, they say it doesn’t matter because the BOJ is doing stimulus.”
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 8.2 percent this year through yesterday amid optimism Japan will deploy more measures to beat deflation and that policy makers in the U.S. and China remain on standby to support growth. Just two of 10 industries on the gauge advanced today.
The Asian benchmark traded at 14.2 times estimated earnings yesterday, compared with 14.4 times for the S&P 500 and 12.9 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
The BOJ today reiterated its commitment to double the country’s monetary base in two years, adding as much as 70 trillion yen ($710 billion) a year to the amount of money circulating in the economy. Consumer prices, excluding the impact of a sales-tax increase and volatile fresh food costs, will rise 1.9 percent in the fiscal year starting in April 2015, according to the median estimate of BOJ board members published today.
Japan’s Topix Index fell 1 percent as the yen extended gains following the BOJ’s announcement. South Korea’s Kospi Index (KOSPI) dropped 0.4 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 (AS51) Index fell 0.1 percent today, while capping a 3.4 percent gain this week, the most since the week ended Dec. 2, 2011. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.2 percent in Wellington. Markets in Australia and New Zealand were closed yesterday for a holiday.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.7 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks the bigger of China’s stock exchanges, slipped 1 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex Index (TWSE) was little changed. Singapore’s Straits Times Index climbed 0.2 percent.
Of the 159 companies on the Asia-Pacific gauge that have reported quarterly earnings this month, and for which Bloomberg has estimates, 73 have missed projections.
Shiseido slumped 8.3 percent to 1,390 yen, the biggest drop in two years, after reducing its planned dividend 60 percent and pledging cost cuts to recover from the first full-year loss in eight years.
Advantest tumbled 7.9 percent to 1,412 yen, its steepest slide since July, after posting a net loss of 3.8 billion yen versus the 333 million yen profit estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Among stocks that rose, BYD surged 12 percent to HK$28.15 after saying first-half net income may soar to as much as 500 million yuan ($81 million), from 16.3 million yuan a year earlier. First-quarter profit jumped 316 percent to 112.4 million yuan as sales increased 9.8 percent to 12.9 billion yuan.
Wynn Macau Ltd., the unit of billionaire Steve Wynn’s Las Vegas-based casino company, rose 0.6 percent to HK$23.45 in Hong Kong, the highest since November 2012, after reporting a 19 percent increase in first-quarter profit.
Net income rose to $249 million in the three months through March on increased business from middle-class gamblers, the company said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange. Revenue rose 4.4 percent to $992.1 million.
BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), Australia’s biggest oil producer, added 2.8 percent to A$32.58 in Sydney after West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery rose $2.21 to $93.64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange overnight. Prices increased 8 percent in the past six days, the longest winning streak since July.
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