Asian stocks fell for the first time in four days as data showed a Chinese factory gauge slipped to a five-month low and energy shares retreated amid a drop in oil.
Lotte Chemical Corp. sank 14 percent in Seoul, leading declines on the regional equities gauge. China Mengniu Dairy Co. declined 4.3 percent in Hong Kong after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. recommended selling the shares. Offshore energy explorer Cnooc Ltd. fell 1.5 percent. MediaTek Inc. tumbled 9.9 percent in Taipei amid a weak sales outlook.
The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index slipped 0.8 percent to 140.95 as of 5:36 p.m. in Tokyo. The measure lost 0.4 percent last week for a second weekly decline. The official China Purchasing Managers’ Index sat at 50 for July, compared with the median estimate of 50.1 in a Bloomberg survey and down from June’s 50.2. Energy shares sank as crude futures in New York slid as much as 1.8 percent after Iran claimed it will be able to bolster production a week after sanctions are lifted.
“China will have several hard questions asked of it over the week, feeding into concern it’s facing a hard landing,” Evan Lucas, a markets strategist in Melbourne at IG Ltd., wrote in an e-mail to clients. “We see a slightly negative start to August.”
Japan’s Topix index was little changed. More than 70 companies in the nation’s benchmark gauge were scheduled to report earnings today.
Australia, South Korea
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.4 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index fell 1.1 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.6 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index retreated 0.9 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index dropped 1.1 percent. The mainland gauge resumed a decline last week, tumbling 10 percent after three weekly gains. Most of the loss came on July 27, when the Chinese measure tumbled 8.5 percent for its largest daily slump since 2007.
The Caixin final manufacturing PMI slipped to 47.8 in July, the lowest since July 2013, from a preliminary reading of 48.2. Numbers above 50 indicate expansion.
West Texas Intermediate crude extended declines after capping its worst month since 2008 in July amid concern over a global supply glut. Iranian production can increase by 500,000 barrels a day within a week after sanctions end, and by 1 million barrels a day within a month following that, state-run Islamic Republic News Agency said.
E-mini futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 0.2 percent after the underlying equity measure lost 0.2 percent on Friday in New York.