Asian Stocks Follow U.S. Lower as Jobs Data Fuel Rate-Rise Bets

  • Nikkei 225 tumbles after posting historic rally on Wednesday
  • Job openings in U.S. surge to record ahead of Fed meeting

Asian stocks dropped, after the regional benchmark index surged by the most in six years on Wednesday, as data on American job openings bolstered the case for higher U.S. interest rates.

Inpex Corp., Japan’s biggest energy explorer, slid 4.1 percent. Murata Manufacturing Co. fell 2.3 percent in Tokyo, pacing losses among Apple Inc. suppliers after Apple unveiled new products. Mirae Asset Securities Co. plunged 18 percent in Seoul, its biggest drop on record, after the South Korean brokerage said it’s reviewing a possible bid for rival Daewoo Securities Co. as it prepares to sell 1.2 trillion won ($1 billion) of new shares.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index sank 1.5 percent to 127.43 as of 4:10 p.m. in Hong Kong after jumping 4.2 percent on Wednesday. Japan’s Topix index lost 1.9 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 1.4 percent on Wednesday as investors weighed the implications of the employment data for next week’s Federal Reserve meeting.

“Markets will remain volatile until the Fed meeting next week,” Nader Naeimi, Sydney-based head of dynamic asset allocation at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., which oversees about $118 billion said by phone. “Investors are again focusing on the potential U.S. interest-rate increase and how it would impact emerging markets.”

U.S. Jobs

Job openings in the U.S. surged to a record in July, data released on Wednesday showed. Fed officials have to consider whether market turmoil that began last month will offset the labor-market improvement and interrupt plans to raise the benchmark interest rate for the first time since 2006. Futures traders saw a 28 percent chance that the Fed would increase rates in September, down from 32 percent a week earlier, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index dropped 1.4 percent as the biggest tumble in producer prices in six years reignited concern about a deeper economic slowdown. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland stocks traded in Hong Kong fell 2 percent, while the city’s benchmark Hang Seng Index declined 2.6 percent.

Factory-gate price data released Thursday showed deflation is pushing up real borrowing costs for China’s industrial sector, compounding challenges as the growth outlook dims. The Shanghai Composite has tumbled 38 percent from its June high to erase as much as $5 trillion in value on mainland bourses as leveraged investors fled amid signs of a deepening slowdown in the economy.

Regional Gauges

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average plunged 2.5 percent after surging by most since October 2008 on Wednesday. Taiwan’s Taiex index slid 0.2 percent and Singapore’s Straits Times Index dropped 1.3 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index decreased 2.4 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index was little changed after the central bank cut interest rates and said the currency should fall further. South Korea’s Kospi Index advanced 1.4 percent.

E-mini futures on the S&P 500 rose 0.1 percent after the underlying equity gauge failed to add to the second-biggest surge of 2015. Apple, the largest-weighted stock in the S&P 500, slipped 1.9 percent on Wednesday.

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