Asia Stocks Fall Sixth Day on Global Growth Concern After Rally

  • Materials, energy companies lead declines in Asian shares
  • BHP Billiton shares tumble in Sydney after Brazilian law suit

Asian stocks outside Japan fell for a sixth day, the longest losing streak since February, led by a rout in commodity shares as crude oil traded below $44 a barrel and concern grew over lackluster global economic growth.

The MSCI Asia Pacific ex Japan Index declined 1.1 percent to 407.48 as of 4:05 p.m. in Hong Kong. A retreat in industrial metals drove Australia’s benchmark down the most in a month, while markets in Japan remain closed until Friday. BHP Billiton Ltd. slumped the most since December 2008 after Brazil filed a lawsuit against the world’s largest mining firm and its partner.

“Equity market sentiment seems to be rolling over globally as the wind begins to come out of the oil price rally,” said Angus Nicholson, a market analyst at IG Ltd. in Melbourne.

Losses among global shares extended into the Asian trading session Wednesday after the MSCI World Index fell to the lowest level since April 12 and crude retreated to $43.65 a barrel on Tuesday, before regaining some ground to trade at $43.74 Wednesday. All eyes turn to the U.S. monthly jobs report Friday amid evidence of economic weakness from the U.S. to China and the U.K.

Chinese stocks in Hong Kong fell to a one-month low as commodity prices declined and doubts grew over whether a pick up in economic indicators can be sustained. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland firms listed in the city dropped 0.6 percent, while the benchmark Hang Seng Index slid 0.7 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.1 percent.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 1.5 percent, New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index lost 0.3 percent and South Korea’s Kospi index fell 0.5 percent before a two-day holiday. Singapore’s Straits Times Index retreated 1 percent and Taiwan’s Taiex index decreased 1.3 percent. Futures on the S&P 500 Index slipped 0.1 percent after the U.S. benchmark dropped 0.9 percent Tuesday.

BHP Billiton slumped 9.4 percent in Sydney. Brazilian prosecutors filed a 155 billion reais ($44 billion) civil suit against the company, Vale SA and their iron-ore venture over a November dam rupture that killed as many as 19 people and caused severe environmental damage. BHP said it hadn’t yet received formal notice of the claim. 

Woolworths Ltd. fell 7 percent after S&P Global Ratings lowered its credit rating on the Australian supermarket chain. Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Ltd. tumbled 12 percent in Mumbai after Citigroup Inc. cut its rating to on concern about the company’s rising debt levels.

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