Asian stocks fell, with the benchmark index capping its first weekly retreat since June, as Nikon Corp. (7731)’s reduced profit forecast overshadowed a larger-than-estimated increase in China’s industrial output.
Nikon, a Japanese camera maker, slumped 14 percent, dragging consumer shares lower. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), the world’s largest mining company, climbed 1.8 percent in Sydney, leading raw-materials firms to the largest advance among the 10 industry groups of the Asia-Pacific benchmark gauge. DeNA Co., a mobile-game site operator, surged 11 percent in Tokyo after posting a 9.6 percent increase in first-quarter sales.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.2 percent to 133.57 at 5:34 p.m. in Hong Kong. The gauge retreated 1.5 percent since Aug. 2, snapping a six-week rally, the longest stretch of gains since January.
“Earnings expectations are high,” Evan Lucas, a Melbourne-based market strategist at IG Markets Ltd., a provider of trading services for equities, currencies and commodities, said by telephone. “Things had started to get to a top. We need to see if the Chinese government is in control and pulling the right levers for the economy.”
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 7.5 percent from a five-year high on May 20 amid concern a slowdown in Chinese growth will worsen and as the Federal Reserve weighed a reduction in U.S. stimulus. The gauge gained 3.3 percent this year, compared with a 19 percent surge on the S&P 500.
The Asia-Pacific measure traded at 13 times estimated earnings, compared with 15.4 for the S&P 500 Index and 13.9 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Japan’s Topix rose 0.1 percent, paring its decline this week to 4.6 percent. That is the worst weekly performance among 24 developed markets tracked by Bloomberg.
Even after falling for the past three months, the gauge is still up 33 percent this year, retaining Japan’s position as the world’s best-performing developed equity market. The measure has risen amid optimism Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will push through reforms while the Bank of Japan provides record stimulus.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.7 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.4 percent. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland firms trading in Hong Kong advanced 1.2 percent. The gauge will extend its decline this year to 30 percent as China’s manufacturing contracts and bad loans keep rising, said Guy Stear, Hong Kong-based head of Asia research at Societe Generale SA.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.2 percent as the Reserve Bank of Australia lowered its 2013 growth outlook to 2.25 percent from 2.5 percent as the economy transitions from a focus on mining investment. South Korea’s Kospi index and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index both retreated 0.2 percent.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) dropped 0.3 percent. The equity measure climbed 0.4 percent yesterday, halting a three-day drop, as Chinese trade data topped estimates and U.S. jobless claims fell.
Reports today showed China’s annual inflation rate remained at 2.7 percent in July from June and industrial production in China rose 9.7 percent from a year earlier, exceeding analyst estimates.
The Chinese government has signaled that it will defend its 7.5 percent economic-growth target for the year after expansion slowed for a second quarter. China last month announced measures to support the economy, including ordering companies in 19 industries to curb overcapacity as well as tax cuts for small firms and aid to exporters. Data yesterday showed exports rose 5.1 percent in July, while imports advanced 10.9 percent.
Claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the four weeks ended Aug. 3 declined to 335,500 on average, the least since November 2007, a report showed yesterday. They rose to 333,000 last week, in line with the median forecast of 50 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, from 328,000 the prior week.
Nikon slumped 14 percent to 1,726 yen in Tokyo after cutting its full-year net-income estimate by almost a quarter as demand for compact cameras weakens. Global shipments of compact digital cameras slid 48 percent in May compared with a year earlier, according to the Camera & Imaging Products Association in Tokyo.
Yamada Denki Co. tumbled 16 percent to 3,295 yen after the Japanese electronics retailer reported a loss last quarter.
DeNA surged 11 percent to 2,059 in Tokyo. The gaming operator reported a 9.6 percent increase in quarterly sales.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Materials Index climbed 0.7 percent, capping a seventh week of gains. BHP Billiton advanced 1.8 percent to A$35.96 and Rio Tinto Group (RIO), the world’s second-largest mining company, added 1.3 percent to A$60.25 in Sydney. Jiangxi Copper Co., China’s biggest producer of the metal, rose 5.3 percent to HK$14.22 in Hong Kong.
China Resources Enterprise Ltd., the nation’s No. 2 hypermarket chain, jumped 7.8 percent to HK$25.70 in Hong Kong after saying it plans to form a venture with Tesco Plc, the biggest U.K. retailer.
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