By Daniel Inman
Asian stock markets fell on Thursday, with a drop in Toyota Motor Corp. shares prompting selling in Tokyo, while bank shares weighed on the Australian market.
The Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.23% fell 0.8% despite a flat currency — the yen /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.0231% was at ¥98.64 to the dollar late in Asia — as another earnings disappointment from the automobile sector weighed on the market.
Toyota Motor Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed JP:7203 +0.59% /zigman2/quotes/200537742/composite TM +1.14% lost 1.3% after the car maker reported a net profit of ¥438.43 billion ($4.45 billion) in the quarter ended September, compared with ¥257.92 billion a year earlier. The firm was helped by a weaker yen, but the net profit came out slightly lower than forecast.
Shutterstock/Selfiy Enlarge Image
The Toyota results came just days after Nissan Motor Co. /zigman2/quotes/208298710/delayed JP:7201 +2.35% /zigman2/quotes/207656007/delayed NSANY +2.25% plunged 10% Tuesday after it cut its net profit forecast, while Honda Motor Co.’s /zigman2/quotes/200490352/delayed JP:7267 +1.61% /zigman2/quotes/207173990/composite HMC +2.76% results in the prior week also failed to meet expectations.
Also in Tokyo, Sumitomo Realty & Development /zigman2/quotes/206628792/delayed JP:8830 -3.39% /zigman2/quotes/205763034/delayed SURDF +5.65% fell 0.4% after the real-estate firm said its operating profit for the fiscal half year increased 21% on-year, partly due to strong sales of condominiums.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.74% fell 0.2%, with sharp falls in some banking stocks weighing down the market as they went ex-dividend.
Australia & New Zealand Banking Group /zigman2/quotes/205482049/delayed AU:ANZ +1.59% /zigman2/quotes/204542251/delayed ANEWF +0.95% and National Australia Bank /zigman2/quotes/210431826/delayed AU:NAB +0.30% /zigman2/quotes/205253475/delayed NAUBF 0.00% fell 4.2% and 3.4%, respectively, after the lenders began trading without rights to the latest dividend.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia /zigman2/quotes/200638713/delayed AU:CBA +0.08% /zigman2/quotes/207018701/delayed CBAUF -0.71% , however, rose 1.7% after J.P. Morgan raised its rating on the bank to buy.
The Australian dollar /zigman2/quotes/210560947/realtime/sampled AUDUSD +0.0390% dropped to 94.87 U.S. cents after data showed the number of people employed rose just 1,100 in October, compared with an expected 7,500 rise. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.7%.
More broadly, regional markets dropped as investors remained cautious ahead of the major risk events that are scheduled to occur at the end of the week.
Twitter prices IPO above range, at $26
Twitter prices its initial public offering at $26 on Wednesday, after raising its original range to $23 to $25 from $17 to $20 earlier this week. The company is selling 70 million shares. MarketWatch's Dan Gallagher reports. (Photo: AP)
On Friday, the U.S. is due to release its monthly labor report — a much-watched indicator over whether the Federal Reserve will start to reduce its bond-buying program. Over the weekend, China will start a major political meeting — the so-called Third Plenum — where the country’s new leadership is expected to unveil a blueprint for economic policy for the next decade.
Chinese stocks were also lower — in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -0.47% fell 0.7%, while the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -0.04% lost 0.5% on the mainland.
In Hong Kong, Lenovo Group /zigman2/quotes/205368244/delayed HK:992 +0.20% /zigman2/quotes/204000062/delayed LNVGY +1.51% rose 2.1% after the personal computer maker beat expectations by posting a 36% increase in its quarterly net profit at a time that most PC firms are struggling.
Elsewhere in the region, South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -0.57% was down 0.5%, and Singapore’s Straits Times Index /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -0.03% was flat late in Asia.