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Asia Stocks Heading for Five-Day Decline on Fed Concern

Asia Stocks Heading for Five-Day Decline on Fed Concern

Asian stocks fell, with the benchmark index set for a fifth day of losses, after U.S. equities slumped on concern over the end of the Federal Reserve’s stimulatory bond-buying program. Japan’s Topix index fell the most in almost seven months after the yen extended gains.

Honda Motor Co. and Panasonic Corp. each fell at least 3.7 percent to pace losses among Japanese exporters. OCI Co. tumbled 5.5 percent in Seoul, tracking losses among the world’s biggest solar manufacturers amid concern Japanese demand for renewable energy will weaken. Wotif.com Holdings Ltd. jumped 6.5 percent in Sydney after regulators said they would allow Expedia Inc.’s bid for the online provider of hotel bookings.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 1 percent to 138.47 as of 3:20 p.m. in Tokyo after retreating to a four-month low yesterday. The measure capped its biggest monthly drop in more than two years in September amid concern Chinese growth is slowing and that the Federal Reserve may increase U.S. interest rates sooner as it ends asset purchases. U.S. stocks tumbled yesterday, sending the Russell 2000 Index into a correction.

“Wall Street sneezes and the rest of the markets react,” said Chong Yoon-Chou, Singapore-based investment director at Aberdeen Asset Management Plc, in a Bloomberg Television interview. “It’s probably time that the U.S. takes a breather as we’ve had such a strong run. Hong Kong protests should blow over. It could hurt the domestic economy. We just have to watch these things.”

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying faces a deadline from student leaders today to resign or see an escalation of pro-democracy protests that have choked city streets for nearly a week. Markets in Hong Kong remain closed today, while those in mainland China are shut through Oct. 7.

Yen Gains

Japan’s Topix index sank 2.9 percent, the biggest decline since March, as the yen headed for a second day of advance. South Korea’s Kospi index dropped 0.8 percent to close at the lowest since June 23. Taiwan’s Taiex index lost 0.2 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index each fell 0.7 percent, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slid 0.6 percent. Indian markets are closed today and tomorrow.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed. The measure lost 1.3 percent yesterday to its lowest close since Aug. 12. The Russell 2000 lost 1.5 percent, extending losses to more than 10 percent from a record in March, meeting the definition of a correction.

More than $200 billion in assets was erased from U.S. equity markets during the past three months, as stronger economic data fueled concern the Fed may raise interest rates sooner than anticipated. Hiring in the U.S. accelerated for the first time in three months, according to a private report before monthly payrolls figures due tomorrow.

While U.S. factories capped their strongest quarter in more than three years, a gauge of manufacturing for the 18-nation euro area pointed to near stagnation. The European Central Bank is expected to announce today details of its plan to buy asset-backed securities after it unveiled a series of stimulus measures to boost credit lending and combat the threat of deflation.