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Feb. 26, 2013, 3:47 a.m. EST

Asia stocks slapped after Italy vote, led by Japan

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By Sarah Turner and V. Phani Kumar, MarketWatch

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Asian stocks markets ended lower Tuesday as signs of an inconclusive general election in Italy sparked worries that another chapter in Europe’s debt crisis could be opening.

Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.08%  fell 2.3%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.68%  declined 1%, Taiwan’s Taiex  lost 0.8% and South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.36%  gave up 0.5%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.79%  declined 1.3%, while China’s Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/206600939/delayed CN:000001 +2.15%  fell 1.4%, staging a sharp afternoon retreat.

/zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed NIK 23,391.86, -18.33, -0.08%
/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA 27,881.72, -27.88, -0.10%
Nikkei Average Vs Dow Jones
Year-to-date price moves

Asia investors took an early lead from the U.S., where stocks ended with heavy losses Monday as the votes were being counted in Italy. Read: U.S. stocks slide as Italy, sequestration hit.

Polls tracking the result indicated that the country could be left with a split result — a situation that could trigger political deadlock, another election, and in a worst case scenario, a renewal of Europe’s debt crisis. Read: ‘Worst-case’ fears rise on Italy election results

“Political uncertainty in Italy has implications for the government’s ability to keep to the fiscal consolidation/reform process — a necessary pre-condition to access [euro-zone fiscal] support mechanisms,” said Barclays Capital strategist Aroop Chatterjee.

The yen rebounded sharply overnight, particularly against the falling euro, as investors rediscovered the Japanese currency’s safe-haven qualities in the face of European uncertainty.

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“The Italian elections have upset the U.S. dollar/yen rally,” said Chatterjee at Barclays. “While we see the reaction as being overdone, and therefore a buying opportunity, we do share the concerns behind the move.”

The dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY -0.0331% bought ¥92.15 on Tuesday, recovering from ¥91.83 in late North American trading, but still well below the intraday high of ¥94.76 Monday. The euro, which plunged 4% against the yen Monday, also recovered a little. Read more about the yen moves in Currencies report.

The yen’s gains slapped exporter shares, as Nikon Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203281219/delayed JP:7731 +0.83% /zigman2/quotes/209396469/delayed NINOY +0.26%  fell 3.4%, Honda Motor Co. /zigman2/quotes/200490352/delayed JP:7267 +0.45%   /zigman2/quotes/207173990/composite HMC +0.03%  lost 3.1% and Nissan Motor Co. /zigman2/quotes/208298710/delayed JP:7201 -1.47%   /zigman2/quotes/207656007/delayed NSANY -1.27%  dropped 2.6%.

Europe-exposed apparel firm Esprit Holdings Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/205943307/delayed HK:330 0.00%   /zigman2/quotes/209270177/delayed ESHDF +80.00%  fell 1.4% in Hong Kong, while airline Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/203532437/delayed HK:293 +0.39%   /zigman2/quotes/208114856/delayed CPCAY -0.23% declined 2.6%.

Hong Kong and mainland China saw losses for resource-sector companies, with Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202960704/delayed HK:2600 -0.79%   /zigman2/quotes/208051344/composite ACH +4.34%   /zigman2/quotes/210453246/delayed CN:601600 -0.59%  down 2.9% in Hong Kong and lower by 3% in Shanghai.

Jiangxi Copper Co /zigman2/quotes/201668148/delayed HK:358 +1.89%   /zigman2/quotes/204256025/delayed JIXAY -2.05% /zigman2/quotes/201334192/delayed CN:600362 +0.73% fell 2.6% in Hong Kong as well as Shanghai, while Angang Steel Co. /zigman2/quotes/209338869/delayed HK:347 0.00%   /zigman2/quotes/207174324/delayed CN:000898 +0.64% dropped 2% in Hong Kong and 2.2% in Shenzhen.

The resources sector — which is sensitive to perceptions of economic growth — was also losing out in Sydney Tuesday.

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202351558/delayed AU:FMG +0.10%   /zigman2/quotes/204116626/delayed FSUMF +1.43%  fell 3%, and Atlas Iron Ltd. fell 3.4% after swinging to a first-half loss.

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Insurance firm QBE Insurance Group Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/207050271/delayed AU:QBE +1.85%   /zigman2/quotes/201857553/delayed QBEIF -3.39%  fell 2.2% after its 2012 profits missed company estimates. Read: QBE to cut costs as U.S. business drags on profit.

In South Korea, exporters were lower, though not by as much as their rivals in Tokyo. Some Korean firms have suffered this year on concerns that a weaker yen could help the competitive position of Japanese competitors.

Shares off lows; Fed in focus

During the Asia morning session, Dennis Lockhart, president of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank, said in the U.S. that the Federal Reserve should stick with its current $85-billion-per-month bond-buying program, at least into the second half of the year.

Markets have been worried that the Fed will scale back the bond-buying program after the minutes of the central bank’s last meeting in January showed some debate over the issues. Read: Fed's Lockhart backs QE at least into second half.

Lockhart’s comments came ahead of two days of congressional testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, due to start later in the day.

“Traders haven’t wanted to drop everything, considering Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke testimony to congress tonight. It is widely expected that Bernanke will use the opportunity to hose down talk of an early reduction in the Fed’s asset purchase program,” said Ben Taylor, a sales trader at CMC Markets. Read: Bernanke may push back against hawkish talk.

/zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed
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23,391.86
-18.33 -0.08%
Volume: 0.00
Dec. 11, 2019 3:15p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed
AU : S&P ASX
6,752.60
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Volume: 638,297
Dec. 11, 2019 5:32p
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KR : Korea Exchange
2,105.62
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Volume: 668,731
Dec. 11, 2019 6:01p
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HK : Hong Kong Exchange
26,645.43
+208.81 +0.79%
Volume: 1.41M
Dec. 11, 2019 4:09p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/206600939/delayed
CN : China: Shenzhen
¥ 15.66
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Market Cap
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Rev. per Employee
¥6.12M
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US : Tullett Prebon
108.6780
-0.0360 -0.0331%
Volume: 0.0000
Dec. 11, 2019 4:37a
loading...
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JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 1,465.00
+12.00 +0.83%
Volume: 1.36M
Dec. 11, 2019 3:00p
P/E Ratio
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Dividend Yield
4.10%
Market Cap
¥566.09 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥34.15M
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/zigman2/quotes/209396469/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 13.37
+0.04 +0.26%
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2.94%
Market Cap
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JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 3,149.00
+14.00 +0.45%
Volume: 3.30M
Dec. 11, 2019 3:00p
P/E Ratio
10.57
Dividend Yield
3.56%
Market Cap
¥5516.30 billion
Rev. per Employee
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/zigman2/quotes/207173990/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 28.76
+0.01 +0.03%
Volume: 377,699
Dec. 10, 2019 6:30p
P/E Ratio
10.60
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3.05%
Market Cap
$50.61 billion
Rev. per Employee
$661,808
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/zigman2/quotes/208298710/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 669.60
-10.00 -1.47%
Volume: 10.32M
Dec. 11, 2019 3:00p
P/E Ratio
18.96
Dividend Yield
2.99%
Market Cap
¥2659.35 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥85.36M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207656007/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 12.43
-0.16 -1.27%
Volume: 130,403
Dec. 10, 2019 3:49p
P/E Ratio
12.97
Dividend Yield
4.47%
Market Cap
$24.46 billion
Rev. per Employee
$773,563
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HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 1.57
0.00 0.00%
Volume: 994,071
Dec. 11, 2019 4:08p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
HK$2.96 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$2.22M
loading...
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US : U.S.: OTC
$ 0.18
+0.08 +80.00%
Volume: 0.00
Dec. 3, 2019 1:01p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
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Rev. per Employee
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/zigman2/quotes/203532437/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 10.32
+0.04 +0.39%
Volume: 1.68M
Dec. 11, 2019 4:08p
P/E Ratio
10.26
Dividend Yield
3.68%
Market Cap
HK$40.44 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$4.27M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/208114856/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 6.47
-0.02 -0.23%
Volume: 46,896
Dec. 10, 2019 3:47p
P/E Ratio
10.09
Dividend Yield
3.29%
Market Cap
$5.17 billion
Rev. per Employee
$544,403
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202960704/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 2.50
-0.02 -0.79%
Volume: 8.68M
Dec. 11, 2019 4:08p
P/E Ratio
347.22
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
HK$42.90 billion
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HK$3.03M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/208051344/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
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Dec. 10, 2019 6:30p
P/E Ratio
360.35
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
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Rev. per Employee
$387,394
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210453246/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
¥ 3.35
-0.02 -0.59%
Volume: 27.70M
Dec. 11, 2019 3:00p
P/E Ratio
609.09
Dividend Yield
0.34%
Market Cap
¥57.37 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥2.53M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201668148/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 9.68
+0.18 +1.89%
Volume: 8.14M
Dec. 11, 2019 4:08p
P/E Ratio
11.91
Dividend Yield
2.35%
Market Cap
HK$32.90 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$12.12M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204256025/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 47.78
-1.00 -2.05%
Volume: 0.00
Nov. 21, 2019 5:19p
P/E Ratio
11.52
Dividend Yield
2.14%
Market Cap
$1.68 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.55M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201334192/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
¥ 15.20
+0.11 +0.73%
Volume: 26.41M
Dec. 11, 2019 3:00p
P/E Ratio
21.33
Dividend Yield
1.32%
Market Cap
¥52.25 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥10.12M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/209338869/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 3.03
0.00 0.00%
Volume: 10.73M
Dec. 11, 2019 4:08p
P/E Ratio
9.03
Dividend Yield
6.35%
Market Cap
HK$28.50 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$3.47M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207174324/delayed
CN : China: Shenzhen
¥ 3.16
+0.02 +0.64%
Volume: 16.97M
Dec. 11, 2019 3:00p
P/E Ratio
10.74
Dividend Yield
5.36%
Market Cap
¥29.53 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥2.93M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202351558/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 10.38
+0.01 +0.10%
Volume: 11.68M
Dec. 11, 2019 4:10p
P/E Ratio
7.16
Dividend Yield
4.14%
Market Cap
$32.02 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204116626/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 7.07
+0.10 +1.43%
Volume: 301.00
Dec. 10, 2019 9:30a
P/E Ratio
6.87
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$21.83 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207050271/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 12.64
+0.23 +1.85%
Volume: 3.21M
Dec. 11, 2019 4:10p
P/E Ratio
19.19
Dividend Yield
5.27%
Market Cap
$16.26 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.33M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201857553/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 8.40
-0.30 -3.39%
Volume: 25.00
Dec. 9, 2019 8:10p
P/E Ratio
17.95
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$11.08 billion
Rev. per Employee
$990,122
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Sarah Turner is MarketWatch's bureau chief in Sydney. Follow her on Twitter @SarahTurnerMKTW. Varahabhotla Phani Kumar is a reporter in MarketWatch's Hong Kong bureau. Follow him on Twitter @MktwKumar.

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