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Nov. 13, 2012, 3:21 a.m. EST

Asian stocks recede amid U.S., Greece fears

Japanese stocks reverse course for a 7th straight session of losses

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By V. Phani Kumar and Michael Kitchen, MarketWatch

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Asian markets retreated Tuesday as lingering uncertainty over the U.S. fiscal outlook and the next tranche of financial aid to Greece prompted a fresh wave of selling, hurting resource stocks and financials in particular.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -2.31%  and China’s Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/206600939/delayed CN:000001 -0.33%  each skidded 1.5%, Taiwan’s Taiex  stumbled 1.8%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -0.73%  fell 1.1%.

Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.79% fell the least among major benchmarks, ending down 0.3%, but extended its streak of losses to seven sessions as the country’s weak economic outlook pressured sentiment. South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -1.28%  also surrendered early gains to slide 0.6%.

The drop in Shanghai and Hong Kong came even as markets awaited the once-in-a-decade leadership changes at the Communist Party Congress, currently in session.

Click to Play

Is Japan on verge of recession?

Japan's economy shrank last quarter and could do so again in the current quarter, which would meet the common definition of a recession.

“China is likely to remain the center of focus for the region, and any comments from there could be a big sentiment driver,” said Stan Shamu, a market strategist at IG Markets.

Stock markets in India, Singapore and Malaysia were closed for a holiday.

Investor focus was affixed on the so-called fiscal cliff in the U.S. — heavy tax hikes and spending cuts that would occur in the absence of an agreement between Republicans and Democrats by the year’s end.

“While our base case remains that a compromise will be reached eventually, the risk of temporarily going over the fiscal cliff in the interim will be negative for risky assets,” Barclays strategists wrote in a note to clients.

Greece was another cause for concern, with The Wall Street Journal reporting about differences between euro-zone leaders and the International Monetary Fund on how to reduce the country’s debt to more manageable levels.

The report said that while the region’s ministers were confident about finding a way to agree on releasing a long-delayed $40 billion aid tranche, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde made clear there were differences on how to do that. Read: Euro zone aims for Nov. 20 Greek aid decision.

Major movers

Stock losses in Asia spread across various sectors, with resources, financials and internationally exposed firms coming under particular selling pressure.

In Sydney, miners suffered despite overnight gains for some commodities. Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202351558/delayed AU:FMG -0.46%   /zigman2/quotes/204116626/delayed FSUMF +1.43%  lost 2%, and Newcrest Mining Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/203840223/delayed AU:NCM -2.92%   /zigman2/quotes/206026738/delayed NCMGF -0.89%  fell 2.3%.

BHP Billiton Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/201448516/delayed AU:BHP -2.15% /zigman2/quotes/208108397/composite BHP -2.28%  lost 1.6% in spite of saying that it expects significant valuation improvements on its shale assets in the U.S. Read: BHP expects boost for U.S. shale assets: reports.

/zigman2/quotes/207050271/delayed QBE 14.29, -0.28, -1.92%
QBE Insurance Group Ltd.
10-day price chart

In Hong Kong, PetroChina Co. /zigman2/quotes/205108732/composite PTR -2.35%   /zigman2/quotes/206980083/delayed CN:601857 +0.58% /zigman2/quotes/204979431/delayed HK:857 -0.94%  lost 1.9%, and China Coal Energy Co. /zigman2/quotes/201486584/delayed HK:1898 +0.77% /zigman2/quotes/200280825/delayed CN:601898 +2.05%   /zigman2/quotes/205321671/delayed CCOZY -1.24%  dropped 2.4%. In Shanghai, they declined 1.4% and 1.6%, respectively, while Zhongjin Gold Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207741711/delayed CN:600489 -3.41%  sank 2.7%.

In Taipei, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. /zigman2/quotes/207385621/delayed TW:2330 -1.09%   /zigman2/quotes/204359850/composite TSM -0.48%  slid 1.1%, and Inotera Memories Inc. sank 4.4%.

In Seoul, the key shipbuilding sector extended recent sharp losses, as Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. /zigman2/quotes/209608086/delayed KR:042660 -0.65% surrendered 4.6% and Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Co. /zigman2/quotes/209447815/delayed KR:010620 -1.17% retreated 2.2%.

Among major Asian financial names, Westpac Banking Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203084975/delayed AU:WBC -1.67% /zigman2/quotes/210300378/delayed WEBNF +0.48%  gave up 2.2% in Sydney, Nomura Holdings Inc. /zigman2/quotes/206251373/delayed JP:8604 -0.84% /zigman2/quotes/207276383/composite NMR -2.29%  lost 0.4% in Tokyo, KB Financial Group Inc. /zigman2/quotes/200043823/composite KB -0.06%  shed 0.8% in Seoul, and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202401350/delayed IDCBY -1.17%    /zigman2/quotes/201401473/delayed HK:1398 -0.93% /zigman2/quotes/202525815/delayed CN:601398 0.00%  lost 1.8% in Hong Kong and 1% in Shanghai.

QBE Insurance Group Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/207050271/delayed AU:QBE -1.92%   /zigman2/quotes/201857553/delayed QBEIF +0.65%  plunged 7.5% in Sydney on a string of broker downgrades after it issued a profit warning.

On the upside in Sydney, shares of Incitec Pivot Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/201665676/delayed AU:IPL -0.69% rallied 3.8%. The firm posted a 24% drop in annual profit, but its key explosives business nonetheless managed a pre-tax gain. Read: Incitec Pivot profit drops on fertilizer weakness.

In Tokyo, Olympus Corp. /zigman2/quotes/200860615/delayed JP:7733 -1.01%   /zigman2/quotes/203009041/delayed OCPNF +18.09%  jumped 5.9% after the company swung to a larger-than-expected profit in the fiscal second quarter.

/zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed
AU : S&P ASX
6,708.10
-158.50 -2.31%
Volume: 1.01M
Feb. 26, 2020 5:38p
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/zigman2/quotes/206600939/delayed
CN : China: Shenzhen
¥ 14.99
-0.05 -0.33%
Volume: 117.66M
Feb. 26, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
10.71
Dividend Yield
1.45%
Market Cap
¥291.87 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥6.12M
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/zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed
HK : Hong Kong Exchange
26,696.49
-196.74 -0.73%
Volume: 2.04M
Feb. 26, 2020 4:08p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed
add Add to watchlist JP:100000018
JP : Nikkei
22,426.19
-179.22 -0.79%
Volume: 0.00
Feb. 26, 2020 3:15p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed
KR : Korea Exchange
2,076.77
-26.84 -1.28%
Volume: 810,937
Feb. 26, 2020 3:32p
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/zigman2/quotes/202351558/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 10.88
-0.05 -0.46%
Volume: 15.59M
Feb. 26, 2020 4:10p
P/E Ratio
4.68
Dividend Yield
9.19%
Market Cap
$33.64 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/204116626/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 7.10
+0.10 +1.43%
Volume: 1,941
Feb. 25, 2020 2:35p
P/E Ratio
4.39
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$21.85 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/203840223/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 28.24
-0.85 -2.92%
Volume: 3.15M
Feb. 26, 2020 4:10p
P/E Ratio
27.11
Dividend Yield
1.18%
Market Cap
$22.32 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/206026738/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 18.93
-0.17 -0.89%
Volume: 6,835
Feb. 25, 2020 2:11p
P/E Ratio
26.08
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$14.52 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/201448516/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 35.55
-0.78 -2.15%
Volume: 7.73M
Feb. 26, 2020 4:10p
P/E Ratio
13.30
Dividend Yield
6.10%
Market Cap
$183.71 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/208108397/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 46.78
-1.09 -2.28%
Volume: 2.00M
Feb. 25, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
12.58
Dividend Yield
6.11%
Market Cap
$68.88 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/205108732/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 40.26
-0.97 -2.35%
Volume: 168,472
Feb. 25, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
9.31
Dividend Yield
4.20%
Market Cap
$8.49 billion
Rev. per Employee
$678,384
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/zigman2/quotes/206980083/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
¥ 5.22
+0.03 +0.58%
Volume: 160.22M
Feb. 26, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
22.88
Dividend Yield
3.21%
Market Cap
¥949.88 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥4.49M
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/zigman2/quotes/204979431/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 3.16
-0.03 -0.94%
Volume: 150.22M
Feb. 26, 2020 4:08p
P/E Ratio
12.12
Dividend Yield
4.99%
Market Cap
HK$583.84 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$5.32M
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/zigman2/quotes/201486584/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 2.62
+0.02 +0.77%
Volume: 6.73M
Feb. 26, 2020 4:08p
P/E Ratio
6.00
Dividend Yield
3.39%
Market Cap
HK$34.47 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$2.78M
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/zigman2/quotes/200280825/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
¥ 4.47
+0.09 +2.05%
Volume: 22.53M
Feb. 26, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
11.69
Dividend Yield
1.74%
Market Cap
¥58.07 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥2.35M
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/zigman2/quotes/205321671/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 7.18
-0.09 -1.24%
Volume: 0.00
Feb. 13, 2020 9:41a
P/E Ratio
8.94
Dividend Yield
2.52%
Market Cap
$13.70 billion
Rev. per Employee
$354,816
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/zigman2/quotes/207741711/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
¥ 8.50
-0.30 -3.41%
Volume: 70.99M
Feb. 26, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
217.95
Dividend Yield
0.24%
Market Cap
¥30.37 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥1.20M
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/zigman2/quotes/207385621/delayed
TW : Taiwan
NT$ 318.50
-3.50 -1.09%
Volume: 60.48M
Feb. 26, 2020 1:30p
P/E Ratio
23.92
Dividend Yield
2.98%
Market Cap
NT$8349.59 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/204359850/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 53.86
-0.26 -0.48%
Volume: 12.67M
Feb. 25, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
24.98
Dividend Yield
2.30%
Market Cap
$279.32 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/209608086/delayed
KR : S. Korea: KRX
23,000.00
-150.00 -0.65%
Volume: 148,594
Feb. 26, 2020 3:30p
P/E Ratio
43.57
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
₩2481.44 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/209447815/delayed
KR : S. Korea: KRX
37,850.00
-450.00 -1.17%
Volume: 135,620
Feb. 26, 2020 3:30p
P/E Ratio
31.30
Dividend Yield
0.92%
Market Cap
₩1525.35 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/203084975/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 24.66
-0.42 -1.67%
Volume: 9.87M
Feb. 26, 2020 4:10p
P/E Ratio
13.02
Dividend Yield
7.06%
Market Cap
$90.42 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.09M
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/zigman2/quotes/210300378/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 16.90
+0.08 +0.48%
Volume: 15,089
Feb. 25, 2020 8:10p
P/E Ratio
12.69
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$58.78 billion
Rev. per Employee
$830,218
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/zigman2/quotes/206251373/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 528.10
-4.50 -0.84%
Volume: 21.31M
Feb. 26, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
6.99
Dividend Yield
5.68%
Market Cap
¥1646.64 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥65.89M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207276383/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 4.69
-0.11 -2.29%
Volume: 152,519
Feb. 25, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
6.71
Dividend Yield
3.09%
Market Cap
$14.50 billion
Rev. per Employee
$597,075
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/zigman2/quotes/200043823/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 31.78
-0.02 -0.06%
Volume: 305,828
Feb. 25, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
4.90
Dividend Yield
4.33%
Market Cap
$12.31 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/202401350/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 13.53
-0.16 -1.17%
Volume: 174,153
Feb. 25, 2020 3:59p
P/E Ratio
53.84
Dividend Yield
4.48%
Market Cap
$600.40 billion
Rev. per Employee
$387,287
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201401473/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 5.34
-0.05 -0.93%
Volume: 256.22M
Feb. 26, 2020 4:08p
P/E Ratio
5.39
Dividend Yield
5.33%
Market Cap
HK$1921.03 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$3.03M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202525815/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
¥ 5.41
0.00 0.00%
Volume: 257.97M
Feb. 26, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
6.22
Dividend Yield
4.63%
Market Cap
¥1928.16 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥2.53M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207050271/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 14.29
-0.28 -1.92%
Volume: 4.69M
Feb. 26, 2020 4:10p
P/E Ratio
23.27
Dividend Yield
4.33%
Market Cap
$19.02 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.33M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201857553/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 9.35
+0.06 +0.65%
Volume: 0.00
Feb. 6, 2020 3:56p
P/E Ratio
21.68
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$12.42 billion
Rev. per Employee
$990,122
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201665676/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 2.88
-0.02 -0.69%
Volume: 6.70M
Feb. 26, 2020 4:10p
P/E Ratio
30.48
Dividend Yield
1.78%
Market Cap
$4.68 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200860615/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 2,004.50
-20.50 -1.01%
Volume: 8.34M
Feb. 26, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
43.26
Dividend Yield
0.50%
Market Cap
¥2603.29 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥22.14M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203009041/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 15.73
+2.41 +18.09%
Volume: 200.00
Feb. 25, 2020 5:20p
P/E Ratio
36.76
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$20.22 billion
Rev. per Employee
$200,545
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Varahabhotla Phani Kumar is a reporter in MarketWatch's Hong Kong bureau. Michael Kitchen is Asia editor for MarketWatch and is based in Los Angeles.

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