Asian stocks fell and the South Korean won weakened as reports signaled slowing global economic growth and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) forecast profit that missed estimates. Oil dropped from a nine-month high after a report showed U.S. stockpiles increased.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.2 percent as of 12:10 p.m. in Tokyo. Technology companies slid 0.6 percent for the biggest drop among 10 industries in the equity gauge. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures were little changed. The won sank to a one-week low against the dollar and China’s yuan fell by the most in almost two weeks. Oil slumped 0.4 percent to $105.82 a barrel. Copper declined for the eighth time in 10 sessions.
European services and manufacturing output shrank in February, Markit Economics said, and Taiwan cut its 2012 growth forecast yesterday. U.S. sales of previously owned houses missed economists’ forecasts, according to an industry report. Asian stocks are poised for a tenth weekly advance as China cut banks’ reserve ratios and Greece won a second bailout package.
“Investors are very skeptical about whether a recovery can proceed without another hurdle jumping up again,” said Angus Gluskie, who oversees about $350 million as managing director at White Funds Management in Sydney. “The austerity measures running through Europe are likely to take the edge off growth.”
Five stocks fell for every three that rose in the MSCI Asia-Pacific Index (MXAP), which has climbed 0.4 percent this week. Data today may show Hong Kong’s exports shrank 7 percent in January, while Taiwan’s industrial production contracted 15.3 percent, according to economist surveys by Bloomberg.
Mazda Motor Corp. (7261), Japan’s least profitable major carmaker, dropped 6.8 percent after saying it may raise a record 162.8 billion yen ($2 billion) selling new stock.
Samsung Electronics Co., Asia’s largest consumer- electronics company, sank 3.3 percent. Kyocera Corp. (6971), which makes printers, fell 2 percent. Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman said on a conference call yesterday that the company’s PCs, printers and information-technology services haven’t been compelling enough to attract customers. The company’s revenue from servers, printers and storage gear also declined.
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (HSCEI) of mainland companies listed in Hong Kong dropped 0.7 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.3 percent.
China’s Premier Wen Jiabao may signal next month that curbing pollution, inequality and the risk of financial instability eclipse the benefits of faster economic growth, a Bloomberg survey indicated. Wen will target an expansion of less than 8 percent in his report to the National People’s Congress in Beijing on March 5, according to 8 of 15 economists in the poll. The median estimate of 7.5 percent compares with the 8 percent goal maintained from 2005 to 2011, even during the 2008-09 world recession.
The Chinese yuan fell 0.05 percent to 6.2992 per dollar, the biggest decline since Feb. 10, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System.
Australia’s currency was little changed against the dollar at $1.064 after sliding 0.4 percent earlier. Prime Minister Julia Gillard called a leadership ballot for Feb. 27, setting up a second showdown with her predecessor Kevin Rudd as weeks of escalating tension damage the Labor government. The move aims to bring to a head 11 days of escalating rivalry between Gillard and Rudd, as opinion polls show the Labor party’s popularity is hovering near a record low.
The cost of insuring Australian bonds from non-payment rose, according to traders of credit-default swaps. The Markit iTraxx Australia index advanced 3 basis points to 146 basis points, according to Westpac Banking Corp. The gauge is set for its biggest one-day increase since Feb. 10, according to data provider CMA.
The U.S. dollar traded at $1.3245 per euro from $1.3249 in New York yesterday. It was little changed at 80.27 yen. Ten-year Treasury yields held at 2.01 percent.
Initial claims for jobless insurance in the U.S. probably totaled 355,000 last week, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of economists before the Labor Department reports the figure today. The figure was 348,000 for the seven days ended Feb. 11, the least since March 2008.
“In the short term, I would expect the dollar to be supported,” said Emma Lawson, a currency strategist at National Australia Bank Ltd. in Sydney. “Concern over the supply of oil and how it may affect the global economy is keeping the market cautious.”
Crude futures in New York have jumped 6.4 percent in the past month on concern Iranian oil supplies may be disrupted. U.S. crude stockpiles rose 3.55 million barrels last week, figures from the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute showed. An Energy Department report today may show inventories climbed 1.35 million barrels to the highest level in almost five months, according to a Bloomberg News survey of analysts.LinkedInGoogle +1Print