Asia Stocks Erase Dip as Gain in Financials Offsets Telco Drop

  • China Mobile leads decline in telecommunication sector
  • MSCI scales down number of A shares for possible inclusion

Asian shares bounced back to unchanged Thursday morning, steadying after the worst decline in three months, as gains in financial and industrial stocks offset a drop in telecommunication companies.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was up a fraction at 147.43 at 4:47 p.m. in Hong Kong after earlier losing 0.3 percent. A gauge of telecommunication shares fell as China Mobile Ltd. slipped 3.4 percent after the company’s dividend announcement disappointed investors. Utilities and consumer staple stocks were the biggest boosts to the Asian stock gauge, which remains down about 0.6 percent on the week.

“The market has largely priced in earnings optimism,” said Hao Hong, chief strategist at Bocom International Holdings Co. in Hong Kong. “Stocks are running into resistance with U.S. equities at a correction stage.”

Hong Kong’s benchmark indexes advanced as investors await earnings from China’s biggest energy firm and banks in the next week. Haier Electronics Group Co. jumped 13 percent in Hong Kong after profit beat analyst estimates. MSCI Inc. scaled down the universe of mainland Chinese A shares for possible inclusion in benchmark indexes under a new proposal.

Chinese airlines surged as American Airlines Group Inc. is said to be in advanced talks to buy a stake in China Southern Airlines Co. China Eastern Airlines Corp. advanced 2.8 percent and Air China Ltd. climbed 3.5 percent in Hong Kong, while China Southern was suspended pending a statement.

Summary

  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index little changed, Hang Seng China Enterprises Index +0.3%; Shanghai Composite Index +0.1%
  • Japan’s Topix little changed, Nikkei +0.2%
  • South Korea’s Kospi +0.2%; Taiwan’s Taiex +0.1%
  • Singapore’s Straits Times Index +0.3%; FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI -0.1%; Jakarta Composite Index +0.5% to a record high; Philippine Stock Exchange Index +0.6%; India’s Sensex +0.5%
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