Asian Stocks Decline as Material Producers Slump With Oil

  • Tencent slips after adding $100 billion to value this year
  • Noble Group plunges, shares halted, on debt default concern

Asian stocks dropped from the highest level in two years as material producers halted gains as the price of crude oil slipped. Noble Group Ltd. slid to a 16-year low after S&P Global Ratings cut its credit rating.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.2 percent to 151.93 as of 5:26 p.m. in Hong Kong. Australia’s main stock index fell 0.2 percent as BHP Billiton Ltd. and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. led declines in commodity producers. Japan’s Topix Index lost 0.2 percent as the yen strengthened amid the latest reports on U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration.

Tencent Holdings Ltd., China’s largest Internet company, slipped 0.1 percent, reversing an earlier gain of 1.9 percent and trimming its advance so far this year to 45 percent. The stock’s rally has helped drive Hong Kong’s benchmark index ahead of almost all global peers. Australia’s BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals dropped more than 1.1 percent.

Political wrangling in Washington returned to the fore, taking the focus away from global economic growth, after the Washington Post reported that Trump asked intelligence chiefs to publicly deny any collusion between his campaign and Russia. Oil halted its advance after a four-day gain before the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries meets Thursday to decide on output.

“Most investors have much less enthusiasm toward the equity market with a lack of main catalysts,” said Komsorn Prakobphol, an investment analyst at Tisco Financial Group Pcl in Bangkok. “The wrangling noises in U.S. politics should spur concern about a delay in implementing tax cuts and other economic policies, while oil prices may be bound for some correction after rallying.”

Noble Group plunged 28 percent in Singapore before shares were halted. S&P said the commodity trader could default on its debt over the next year as it spirals further into distress. S&P cut its long-term rating three notches to CCC+ before the company requested a trading halt on its stock pending an announcement.

Summary

  • Hang Seng Index +0.1%, HSCEI +0.2%, SHCOMP -0.5%, Taiex +0.1%
  • Sensex -0.7%; Gail India -2.6% after quarterly net income trailed estimates
  • South Korea’s Kospi +0.3%
  • Singapore’s Straits Times Index +0.3%, Malaysia’s KLCI Index -0.4%, Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite -0.3%, Thailand’s SET Index +0.4%, Philippine Stock Exchange Index +0.1%, Vietnam’s VN Index -0.4%
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