By Colin Ng And Matthew Allen
Most Asian equity markets declined Tuesday, with Chinese property developers skidding lower on concerns Beijing may initiate more measures to cool property prices, while Japanese shares were pulled lower by selling in stocks that went ex-dividend.
The day began on a weak note as investors followed Wall Street's lead and took some cash off the table after recent gains.
"We are seeing some softness, but certainly nothing of any conviction. Stocks that have run quite well over recent weeks are having a bit of a breather today," said Helen Spencer , client adviser at Macquarie Private Wealth.
The Nikkei Stock Average fell 1.1% to 9495.76 in Tokyo, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index declined 1% to 22109.95 after rising in 16 of the previous 18 sessions.
Persistent talk that Beijing may introduce more restrictive policies to make housing more affordable on the mainland hurt Chinese property developers and banks. China Vanke /zigman2/quotes/205643772/delayed CN:000002 +4.42% slid 2.8% in Shenzhen, while China Merchants Bank /zigman2/quotes/210188047/delayed CN:600036 +2.96% shed 1.8% and Beijing Vantone Real Estate /zigman2/quotes/209732557/delayed CN:600246 -1.15% shed 3.3% in Shanghai. In Hong Kong, China Resources Land /zigman2/quotes/202417326/delayed HK:1109 +0.84% shed 3%, Shimao Property Holdings /zigman2/quotes/208719072/delayed HK:813 0.00% gave up 2.1% and Bank of Communications /zigman2/quotes/203442771/delayed HK:3328 0.00% dropped 1.8%.
"Investors are trading cautiously in the face of several large uncertainties on policies for real-estate developers and banks," said Zhang Zhuo at Minsheng Securities.
Ningbo Port /zigman2/quotes/206550113/delayed CN:601018 +1.50% fell 3.5% on its debut in Shanghai to end at 3.57 yuan (53 U.S. cents), compared with its 3.7 yuan initial public offering price. The port operator raised 7.4 billion yuan from its IPO after selling two billion A-shares.
Amy Lin at Capital Securities said large-capitalization stocks such as port companies were out of favor with investors concerned over slower economic growth domestically and globally.
China Unicom (Hong Kong) /zigman2/quotes/205091392/delayed HK:762 +4.75% fell 4.3% on equity-dilution concerns a day after the mobile-service provider announced a convertible-bond issue to raise $1.82 billion.
Aluminum Corp. of China /zigman2/quotes/202960704/delayed HK:2600 0.00% , or Chalco, jumped 4.3% in Hong Kong and by the day's 10% limit in Shanghai as investors responded to parent Chinalco's plan to invest 10 billion yuan to develop rare-earth resources and acquire a majority stake in Jiangxi Rare Earth & Rare Metals Tungsten Group.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index appears "overdue" for a pullback, local brokerage Taifook said. The brokerage said a correction in local property stocks "looks more imminent" after their significant outperformance of late against the broader market, and ahead of the territory's chief executive's policy address in early October, which may include possible measures to cool the housing market. Sun Hung Kai Properties /zigman2/quotes/209086152/delayed HK:16 -0.49% fell 1.2% and Sino Land /zigman2/quotes/202960683/delayed HK:83 -0.21% lost 1.6%.
The Japanese market was weighed down by a large number of stocks—those with end-September fiscal half-years—trading ex-dividend, meaning the person who owned the stock on the date will be awarded the payment, regardless of who currently holds the stock. High-yielding pharmaceutical stocks underperformed the market. Eisai /zigman2/quotes/203064480/delayed JP:4523 +0.78% dropped 3.8% and Takeda Pharmaceutical /zigman2/quotes/201302442/delayed JP:4502 +0.99% lost 3.2%. Among other stocks that went ex-dividend, Nomura Holdings /zigman2/quotes/206251373/delayed JP:8604 -1.67% shed 3.3%, NTT DoCoMo /zigman2/quotes/202061250/delayed JP:9437 -2.88% lost 2.5% and Inpex /zigman2/quotes/206689846/delayed JP:1605 -0.15% slid 2.2%.
Takefuji tumbled by its daily limit of 32.2%, after going untraded for most of the session, as sellers far exceeded buyers. The consumer lender filed for bankruptcy protection later on Tuesday.
Nufarm /zigman2/quotes/208974242/delayed AU:NUF -0.94% dropped 3.9% in Sydney on news the farm-chemicals maker swung to a net loss in the year ended July 31. It was profitable in the previous year.
Hyundai Motor fell 3.1% in Seoul. "The recent recall news of its Sonata sedans in the U.S. and its plan to acquire Hyundai Engineering & Construction may be pushing down shares of Hyundai Motor," said Bae Sung-young at Hyundai Securities.
Write to Colin Ng at email@example.com