Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index headed for the worst weekly decline in a month, as a retreat in energy shares overshadowed China’s first rise in the yuan reference rate since Tuesday’s devaluation.
Santos Ltd., Australia’s third-largest crude producer, tumbled 9 percent as oil futures headed for the longest run of weekly declines since January. Lenovo Group Ltd. slipped 5.8 percent in Hong Kong after Fubon Securities Co. and Macquarie Group Ltd. downgraded ratings of the maker of ThinkPad laptops. Nexon Co. surged by a record 19 percent after profit tripled at the gamemaker.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.1 percent to 138.22 as of 4:01 p.m. in Hong Kong, erasing gains of as much as 0.2 percent. The gauge is heading for a 2 percent retreat this week, the most since the week ended July 10, after three surprise cuts of at least 1.1 percent in the yuan’s daily fixing. Oil headed for a seventh weekly loss amid signs the global glut that’s driven prices to the lowest in six years will be prolonged.
“It’s concerning that we can’t really see the bottom of oil prices,” said Hitoshi Asaoka, Tokyo-based senior strategist at Mizuho Trust & Banking Co. “It’s now a given that over-production won’t be dissolved any time soon.”
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.1 percent while the Hang Sent China Enterprises Index dropped 0.2 percent. Japan’s Topix index lost 0.2 percent, capping its first weekly decline in three weeks. Taiwan’s Taiex index slid 0.1 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 0.6 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index fell 0.7 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index climbed 0.7 percent.
The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3 percent, taking its weekly advance to 5.9 percent, the most in two months, amid speculation that the weaker yuan will help to shore up the world’s second-biggest economy.
“The prevailing local view seems to be that the cut was reasonable considering the slowdown in the economy,” said Gerry Alfonso, a sales trader at Shenwan Hongyuan Group Co. in Shanghai. “There is a perception that the authorities will introduce further measures to support the economy.”
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed. The underlying index slipped 0.1 percent on Thursday.