Asian Stocks Drop as Hong Kong Gauges Pushed Down by Oil Firmsby
Investors waiting for U.S. election, Fed and BOJ meetings
Samsung Electronics advances after profit beats estimates
Asian stocks fell as oil explorers pushed down Hong Kong gauges, while investors weighed earnings at companies from Samsung Electronics Co. to Orix Corp. Japanese shares retreated from a six-month high.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.6 percent to 139.09 as of 4:03 p.m. in Hong Kong, poised for its first monthly decline since June. Cnooc Ltd., China’s biggest offshore oil and gas producer, lost 2.5 percent in Hong Kong after its third-quarter sales fell 15 percent, dragging down energy shares in the city. Canon Inc. lost 3 percent in Tokyo after cutting its operating profit forecast and Taiwan’s benchmark gauge closed down the most in October.
Asian shares have fallen from a 14-month high in late September as investors wait for the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8 and a likely Federal Reserve interest-rate increase before the end of the year. Traders see a 73 percent chance the U.S. central bank will hike in December and 17 percent odds it will pull the trigger at its meeting on Nov. 2.
“People are quite hesitant to put money to work ahead of the election,” said Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG Ltd. in Melbourne. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see a fairly subdued sideways trade for markets until then.”
Japan’s Topix index closed down 0.1 percent, retreating from a six-month high and snapping a three-day rally. Canon was the biggest drag on the benchmark gauge, outweighing positive results from Orix Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd. Investors are also shifting focus toward the Bank of Japan meeting that runs from Oct. 31 to Nov. 1.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.8 percent, dropping for a third straight day. A gauge of mainland Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong declined 0.9 percent as China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. lost 1.4 percent and PetroChina Co. decreased 2 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index closed down 0.1 percent.
South Korea’s Kospi index climbed 0.5 percent after closing at a six-week low on Wednesday, as Samsung Electronics Co. added 0.4 percent. The world’s biggest smartphone maker posted third-quarter net income of 4.4 trillion won ($3.9 billion), beating estimates for a 3.9 trillion won profit. Scores of reports about battery fires and explosions forced Samsung to kill its most profitable model this month in its worst corporate crisis to date.
Tata Motors Ltd. fell 1.7 percent in Mumbai, the biggest drag on the benchmark Indian equities gauge after Tata Group’s ousted Chairman Cyrus Mistry warned the conglomerate may face $18 billion in writedowns because of five unprofitable businesses he inherited.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 1.2 percent, while New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index added 0.7 percent. The Taiwanese measure fell 0.7 percent and the Philippine Stock Exchange Index dropped 0.7 percent, its sixth consecutive decline.
Futures on the S&P 500 Index rose 0.2 percent in the most recent trading. The U.S. equity benchmark closed 0.2 percent lower on Wednesday after swinging between gains and losses as a rally in financial and industrial companies countered losses among health-care and technology shares.