Asian stocks dropped, snapping a six-day advance and paring the regional benchmark index’s biggest weekly gain since July, as investors await the monthly U.S. jobs report.
Sumitomo Realty & Development Co. (8830) lost 1.4 percent as Japanese developers retreated ahead of a decision this weekend on whether Tokyo will host the 2020 Olympics. SoftBank Corp. (9984) fell 2.2 percent after competitor NTT DoCoMo Inc., Japan’s largest mobile-phone carrier, was said to be near an agreement to offer Apple Inc.’s iPhone. BBMG Corp. rose 2.6 percent in Hong Kong after the cement maker announced a share sale.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell less than 0.1 percent to 133.24 at 7:59 p.m. in Tokyo. The gauge has risen 2.4 percent this week. U.S. payrolls figures today may add to signs of an improving jobs market ahead of the Federal Reserve’s Sept. 17-18 meeting, when it will gauge whether the world’s biggest economy can withstand a reduction in unprecedented stimulus.
The jobs data today “is a very important number because it is the number that Fed policy is benchmarked against,” Peter Esho, chief market analyst at Invast Securities Co., said by phone. “A discussion around employment is going to drive the outcome of the Fed’s meeting later this month.”
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed. Japan’s Topix index slid 0.9 percent. The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index gained 0.4 percent, completing a seven-day rally, its longest winning streak since December.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.1 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite climbed 0.8 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slid 0.2 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index rose 0.2 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 0.3 percent.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index (AS51) gained 0.1 percent ahead of tomorrow’s election, which polls indicate will see Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s minority Labor government lose to Tony Abbott’s Liberal-National coalition.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 3 percent this year through yesterday, trailing a 16 percent surge on the S&P 500. Benchmark gauges in Hong Kong and Singapore posted two of the three biggest declines among 24 developed markets amid concern about China’s slowdown, while the region’s emerging markets were roiled by outflows as investors dumped risk assets.
Speculation the Federal Open Market Committee will dial down bond purchases at its meeting this month has pushed up U.S. bond yields and contributed to the worst rout in the currencies of developing nations in five years.
Claims (INJCJC) for U.S. unemployment benefits declined by 9,000 to 323,000 in the week ended Aug. 31, less than the lowest estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Another report showed companies boosted employment by 176,000 workers in August, according to the ADP Research Institute.
The number of workers on nonfarm payrolls in the U.S. probably increased 180,000 in August, compared with a gain of 162,000 for July, according to the median of 94 economists’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Japan’s Topix climbed 3.8 percent this week, extending this year’s surge to 34 percent, best among developed markets tracked by Bloomberg. Shares have jumped amid optimism Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Bank of Japan can lead the country out of deflation with stimulus and reforms.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index has declined 5.7 percent this year. Slower growth was a conscious choice by the government to allow it to adjust the nation’s economic structure, President Xi Jinping said Sept. 3.
Losses in Japan today were driven by real-estate and construction companies, which may suffer if Tokyo loses the vote to select the host of the 2020 Summer Games. Madrid’s bid has the support of 50 out of 98 members of the International Olympic Committee, Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported yesterday.
Sumitomo Realty slid 1.4 percent to 4,540 yen. Tokyu Land Corp. (8815) lost 3.2 percent to 960 yen.
SoftBank competitor DoCoMo is near an agreement with Apple to offer its iconic smartphone this year, people familiar with the situation told Bloomberg News. SoftBank slipped 2.2 percent to 6,380 yen. DoCoMo gained 0.6 percent to 160,500 yen.
BBMG advanced 2.6 percent to HK$5.45 on plans to raise about 2.8 billion yuan ($458 million) in a share sale to its parent and a fund.
Shipping companies extended this week’s surge after the Baltic Dry Index of commodity-shipping rates jumped yesterday to its highest level since January 2012. China Cosco Holdings Co. (1919), the nation’s biggest cargo line, advanced 1.3 percent to HK$3.91. China Shipping Development Co. rose 2.3 percent to HK$4.43.
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