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May 2, 2013, 4:19 a.m. EDT

Asia stocks fall after weak China, U.S. data

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By V. Phani Kumar, MarketWatch

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Asian stock markets fell Thursday as weak economic data from the U.S. and China added to worries about global growth, hitting shares of commodity producers especially hard.

Shares in Shanghai and Hong Kong dropped as investors got their first chance to react to the official Chinese manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for April, released Wednesday. Both markets remained weak after HSBC, which releases a rival PMI measure, revised lower its April reading on activity at Chinese factories on Thursday.

HSBC’s chief economist for China, Qu Hongbin, said the drop in April PMI to 50.4 from 51.6 in March “confirmed a fragile growth recovery of the Chinese economy.” The weak conditions could affect the labor market, likely inviting “more policy responses in coming months,” he added.


Reuters

The Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -2.19%  fell 0.2% as the market reopened for the first time this week after the Labor Day holidays, while the Hang Seng Index  dipped 0.3% in Hong Kong, which was also closed Wednesday.

Elsewhere in the region, Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.28% dipped 0.8% for its fourth straight trading day of losses, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -1.78% shed 0.7%, and South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.92%  fell 0.3%.

The drop came after U.S. data on Wednesday, showing weak jobs addition by private employers and tepid growth in manufacturing, resulted in sharp losses on Wall Street.

The Federal Open Market Committee, meanwhile, said it would continue buying $85 billion in bonds each month but added it may raise or cut the program, subject to economic conditions.

“With the Federal Reserve reaffirming their dedication to current stimulus measures ... economic data will likely have greater weight on equity market performance. So if the current theme of negative data surprises continues, we could see equity markets catch up with the recent selloff in commodity markets,” said Rivkin Securities global analyst Tim Radford.

Click to Play

Fed signals flexibility on stimulus

The Federal Reserve says it will adjust its bond buying purchases depending on jobs and inflation.

Resource stocks came under selling pressure as the Chinese and U.S. data sparked fresh worries about demand from the world’s two largest economies.

In Sydney, mining heavyweight BHP Billiton Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/201448516/delayed AU:BHP -0.99% /zigman2/quotes/208108397/composite BHP -2.23%  dropped 1.2%, and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202351558/delayed AU:FMG -3.04%   /zigman2/quotes/204116626/delayed FSUMF +0.50%  skidded 4.3%.

Jiangxi Copper Co. /zigman2/quotes/204256025/delayed JIXAY -9.21% /zigman2/quotes/201334192/delayed CN:600362 -0.48% /zigman2/quotes/201668148/delayed HK:358 -1.68%  fell 2.9%, and PetroChina Co. /zigman2/quotes/206980083/delayed CN:601857 -1.52% /zigman2/quotes/204979431/delayed HK:857 -1.76%   /zigman2/quotes/205108732/composite PTR -1.81% dropped 0.6% in Shanghai; in Hong Kong trade, they lost 1.2% and 2.1%, respectively.

Several steel makers also lost ground across the region on concerns about demand, with JFE Holdings Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203557603/delayed JFEEF -20.14% /zigman2/quotes/204336633/delayed JP:5411 -0.88% slumping 4.8%, and Kobe Steel Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/207391157/delayed JP:5406 -0.62%  dropping 3.1% in Tokyo.

Similarly, Wuhan Iron & Steel Co.  retreated 1.9% in Shanghai and Hyundai Steel Co. /zigman2/quotes/203290957/delayed KR:004020 +0.89%  lost 1.7% in Seoul.

The weak tone in Asia was also reflective of caution ahead of the Friday’s U.S. nonfarm payrolls data and the European Central Bank monetary-policy meeting later Thursday, where the central bank was expected to cut interest rates amid weakening economic indicators.

Over in Tokyo, trading volumes were modest ahead of a long weekend, with Japanese markets due to close on Friday and Monday.

Exporters were among the top decliners as the yen strengthened further against the U.S. dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.1204% .

/zigman2/quotes/203224600/delayed 6753 1,079.00, +9.00, +0.84%
Sharp Corp.
One-year price moves

Among them, Nissan Motor Co. /zigman2/quotes/208298710/delayed JP:7201 -3.91% /zigman2/quotes/207656007/delayed NSANY -7.61%  lost 2%, and Bridgestone /zigman2/quotes/205589013/delayed JP:5108 -1.61% /zigman2/quotes/204111038/delayed BRDCY -5.24%  shed 2.2%.

On the upside, Sharp Corp.   /zigman2/quotes/200401218/delayed SHCAY -7.62%  jumped 5% after a Nikkei newspaper report that some banks were considering extending a 100-billion-yen ($1.01 billion) credit facility to the electronics company ahead of an upcoming bond redemption.

However, Fitch Ratings said in a statement it was maintaining a negative rating watch on the company, reflecting “growing risks to Sharp’s liquidity position in the short-term, due to its upcoming debt maturities and limited access to the capital markets.”

Panasonic Corp. /zigman2/quotes/201785256/delayed JP:6752 -2.02% /zigman2/quotes/202333059/delayed PCRFY -2.80%  gained 0.3% after a separate Nikkei report that the company had unloaded shares worth about ¥100 billion in firms such as Toyota Motor Corp. Toyota /zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed JP:7203 -0.24%   /zigman2/quotes/200537742/composite TM -2.70%  stock lost 1.1%.

Minutes of the Bank of Japan’s last meeting in April, released earlier on Thursday, showed the central bank’s board members felt it was necessary for the bank to “enter a new phase of monetary easing.”

Shares of Lenovo Group Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/205368244/delayed HK:992 -2.88%   /zigman2/quotes/204000062/delayed LNVGY -4.27% dropped 2.7% in Hong Kong after the company’s talks to buy a part of International Business Machines Corp.’s /zigman2/quotes/203856914/composite IBM -5.22%  server business broke down due to differences over price.

Back in Sydney, Macquarie Group Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/206727308/delayed AU:MQG -2.18% /zigman2/quotes/204353811/delayed MCQEF +23.13%  rose 1% after The Australian reported the financial company was aiming for control of a portfolio of nine investment schemes managed by collapsed logging firm Gunns.

/zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed
HK : Hong Kong Exchange
23,085.79
-517.69 -2.19%
Volume: 2.88M
April 1, 2020 4:08p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed
JP : Nikkei
18,014.02
-51.39 -0.28%
Volume: 0.00
April 2, 2020 9:04a
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed
AU : S&P ASX
5,165.20
-93.40 -1.78%
Volume: 197,368
April 2, 2020 11:04a
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed
KR : Korea Exchange
1,700.97
+15.51 +0.92%
Volume: 58,685
April 2, 2020 9:04a
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201448516/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 29.93
-0.30 -0.99%
Volume: 1.56M
April 2, 2020 11:04a
P/E Ratio
11.20
Dividend Yield
7.12%
Market Cap
$146.54 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/208108397/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 35.87
-0.82 -2.23%
Volume: 3.71M
April 1, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
9.65
Dividend Yield
7.97%
Market Cap
$54.02 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202351558/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 10.04
-0.32 -3.04%
Volume: 3.63M
April 2, 2020 11:04a
P/E Ratio
4.32
Dividend Yield
9.97%
Market Cap
$30.78 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204116626/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 6.04
+0.03 +0.50%
Volume: 9,286
April 1, 2020 3:41p
P/E Ratio
3.74
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$18.50 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204256025/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 43.77
-4.44 -9.21%
Volume: 90.00
March 30, 2020 5:20p
P/E Ratio
10.59
Dividend Yield
2.34%
Market Cap
$12.82 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.55M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201334192/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
¥ 12.57
-0.06 -0.48%
Volume: 12.01M
April 1, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
17.65
Dividend Yield
1.59%
Market Cap
¥43.73 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥10.12M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201668148/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 7.04
-0.12 -1.68%
Volume: 4.83M
April 1, 2020 4:08p
P/E Ratio
8.79
Dividend Yield
1.55%
Market Cap
HK$24.79 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$12.12M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/206980083/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
¥ 4.55
-0.07 -1.52%
Volume: 186.41M
April 1, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
18.23
Dividend Yield
3.16%
Market Cap
¥845.56 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥4.49M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204979431/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 2.79
-0.05 -1.76%
Volume: 256.01M
April 1, 2020 4:08p
P/E Ratio
9.82
Dividend Yield
5.62%
Market Cap
HK$519.78 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$5.32M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205108732/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 35.35
-0.65 -1.81%
Volume: 209,931
April 1, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
29.35
Dividend Yield
4.78%
Market Cap
$7.60 billion
Rev. per Employee
$678,384
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203557603/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 7.02
-1.77 -20.14%
Volume: 1.00
March 31, 2020 5:20p
P/E Ratio
6.66
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$3.78 billion
Rev. per Employee
$583,723
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204336633/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 679.00
-6.00 -0.88%
Volume: 363,200
April 2, 2020 9:04a
P/E Ratio
5.79
Dividend Yield
2.95%
Market Cap
¥404.82 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥64.46M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207391157/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 320.00
-2.00 -0.62%
Volume: 494,800
April 2, 2020 9:04a
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
0.00%
Market Cap
¥121.14 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥52.09M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203290957/delayed
KR : S. Korea: KRX
17,050.00
+150.00 +0.89%
Volume: 48,490
April 2, 2020 9:04a
P/E Ratio
130.85
Dividend Yield
4.40%
Market Cap
₩2356.31 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled
US : Tullett Prebon
107.2940
+0.1290 +0.1204%
Volume: 0.0000
April 1, 2020 8:24p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/208298710/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 329.00
-13.40 -3.91%
Volume: 3.24M
April 2, 2020 9:04a
P/E Ratio
30.85
Dividend Yield
3.04%
Market Cap
¥1395.43 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥85.36M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207656007/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 6.19
-0.51 -7.61%
Volume: 998,712
April 1, 2020 3:57p
P/E Ratio
31.07
Dividend Yield
8.98%
Market Cap
$12.93 billion
Rev. per Employee
$773,563
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205589013/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 3,121.00
-51.00 -1.61%
Volume: 290,000
April 2, 2020 9:04a
P/E Ratio
7.72
Dividend Yield
5.13%
Market Cap
¥2180.61 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥25.43M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204111038/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 14.38
-0.80 -5.24%
Volume: 127,842
April 1, 2020 3:57p
P/E Ratio
7.74
Dividend Yield
3.92%
Market Cap
$20.20 billion
Rev. per Employee
$231,654
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200401218/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 2.40
-0.20 -7.62%
Volume: 47,471
April 1, 2020 3:52p
P/E Ratio
11.17
Dividend Yield
1.22%
Market Cap
$5.59 billion
Rev. per Employee
$454,670
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201785256/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 789.80
-16.30 -2.02%
Volume: 784,000
April 2, 2020 9:04a
P/E Ratio
6.39
Dividend Yield
3.80%
Market Cap
¥1924.61 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥29.74M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202333059/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 7.29
-0.21 -2.80%
Volume: 125,888
April 1, 2020 3:55p
P/E Ratio
6.44
Dividend Yield
3.13%
Market Cap
$17.83 billion
Rev. per Employee
$269,385
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 6,316.00
-15.00 -0.24%
Volume: 1.06M
April 2, 2020 9:04a
P/E Ratio
7.30
Dividend Yield
3.48%
Market Cap
¥18073.10 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥81.43M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200537742/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 116.71
-3.24 -2.70%
Volume: 398,074
April 1, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
7.35
Dividend Yield
3.06%
Market Cap
$166.73 billion
Rev. per Employee
$737,463
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205368244/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 4.04
-0.12 -2.88%
Volume: 67.67M
April 1, 2020 4:08p
P/E Ratio
8.65
Dividend Yield
6.96%
Market Cap
HK$49.98 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$7.25M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204000062/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 10.25
-0.46 -4.27%
Volume: 34,803
April 1, 2020 3:54p
P/E Ratio
8.83
Dividend Yield
6.63%
Market Cap
$6.45 billion
Rev. per Employee
$924,869
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203856914/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 105.14
-5.79 -5.22%
Volume: 6.11M
April 1, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
9.95
Dividend Yield
6.16%
Market Cap
$98.55 billion
Rev. per Employee
$208,845
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/206727308/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 87.39
-1.95 -2.18%
Volume: 311,990
April 2, 2020 11:04a
P/E Ratio
9.66
Dividend Yield
8.27%
Market Cap
$29.04 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.02M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204353811/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 54.25
+10.19 +23.13%
Volume: 1,621
April 1, 2020 5:20p
P/E Ratio
8.51
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$18.37 billion
Rev. per Employee
$777,639
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Varahabhotla Phani Kumar is a reporter in MarketWatch's Hong Kong bureau. Follow him on Twitter @MktwKumar.

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