Asian Stocks Fall as Yen Strength Drags Down Japan SharesAdam Haigh
Asian stocks declined as a rising yen dragged Japan’s Topix index lower and materials and consumer shares retreated.
Toyota Motor Corp., which gets most of its sales abroad, slid 0.7 percent in Tokyo. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, dropped 1.2 percent in Sydney as the largest drag on the regional gauge. Country Garden Holdings Co. retreated 5 percent in Hong Kong after the property developer said it plans to raise HK$3.18 billion ($410 million) in a share sale to refinance debt. Qantas Airways Ltd. surged 7 percent after Australia’s No. 1 carrier posted a narrower-than-forecast annual loss and said it will return to profit in the first half of 2015.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.3 percent to 148.27 as of 4:13 p.m. in Hong Kong as more than two shares dropped for each that rose. Valuations on the gauge yesterday climbed to the highest level this year. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index paused its gains yesterday after a rally that sent the value of global equities to a record $66 trillion.
“There’s still an underlying trend of earnings growth, it’s just a matter of how much you want to pay for it,” David Cassidy, a Sydney-based strategist at UBS AG, said in a phone interview. “The market is fully valued and the argument for equities everywhere is that they are cheap versus interest rates.”
China’s industrial profits rose 13.5 percent in July after climbing 17.9 percent in June, the fastest pace since September, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics today.
Japan’s Topix index fell 0.4 percent, ahead of the release tomorrow of industrial output and inflation data for July. The yen rose 0.1 percent to 103.76 per dollar, extending yesterday’s 0.2 percent gain. Toyota was the biggest drag on the Topix, slipping 0.7 percent to 5,935 yen.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 0.7 percent and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland shares listed in the city slid 1.3 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index was little changed. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6 percent and Taiwan’s Taiex index retreated 0.1 percent.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 0.5 percent. BHP retreated 1.2 percent to A$36.88, a two-month low. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index and Singapore’s Straits Times Index lost 0.2 percent. India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index added 0.3 percent.
Country Garden, controlled by China’s richest woman, Yang Huiyan, fell 5 percent to HK$3.44. The developer will offer investors one new share for every 15 held, or about 1.27 billion new shares, at HK$2.50 each, about a 31 percent discount to yesterday’s closing price.
“Country Garden’s rights issue at a steep discount is definitely a concern,” Desmond Chua, a strategist at CMC Markets in Singapore, said by phone. “We’re not yet close to the bottom of the Chinese housing market. We’ll probably get some government stimulus if it worsens.”
China Cinda Asset Management Co., one of the nation’s four largest bad-loan managers, tumbled 7.1 percent to HK$3.92 after first-half profit missed analysts’ expectations. The Beijing-based company yesterday reported net income of 5.3 billion yuan ($863 million), less than the 5.7 billion yuan average of three estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China’s largest e-commerce provider, said first-quarter net income almost tripled to $1.99 billion. Revenue for the company -- which may kick off roadshow meetings to market its initial public offering next month in New York -- climbed by 46 percent in local currency terms.
Futures on the S&P 500 lost 0.2 percent today. The gauge yesterday closed steady at 2,000.12, with about the same number of stocks rising and falling.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index traded at 13.7 times estimated earnings compared with 16.8 for the S&P 500 and 15.5 on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Among stocks that rose, Qantas gained 7 percent to A$1.385. The group will be profitable in the six months to December as an oversupply of seats subsides and a A$2 billion cost-cutting program starts to pay off, the Sydney-based airline said.