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May 4, 2012, 5:12 a.m. EDT

Asian stocks slip ahead of U.S. jobs data

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By Sarah Turner and Nick Godt, MarketWatch

MUMBAI (MarketWatch) — Asian shares fell Friday, with a sharp overnight drop in crude oil hitting energy names, ahead of the closely-watched U.S. nonfarm payrolls report.

South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.16%  dropped 0.3%, while both Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -2.42% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -2.19% lost 0.8%.

The Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/206600939/delayed CN:000001 +0.70%  moved in and out of positive territory before settling 0.5% higher, while Japanese markets remained closed for holiday.

Wall Street closed with mild losses Thursday, one day ahead of the key U.S. jobs data for April. Economists expect that the U.S. gained 163,000 jobs last month, up from a disappointing 120,000 in March. Read U.S. jobs preview.

“The consumer is the big part of American GDP, and if people aren’t employed, they are not going to spend money. So that’s why the jobs number is important,” said Andrew Sullivan at PiperJaffray.

The U.S. payrolls numbers will cap a week of focus on global jobs data, including numbers Wednesday showing that the euro-zone unemployment rate reached a record high in March. Read more on European jobs.

“We’ve known that the [euro-zone] periphery is struggling, but now Germany is struggling as well. That places a big question mark over growth prospects. Now if you have France with a new president wanting to renegotiate part of the treaty, then that could put further stress on it,” said Sullivan ahead of the weekend’s election in France.

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Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng calls Congress

Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng addresses members of the U.S. Congress by cellphone from a Beijing hospital, where he is under watch by Chinese authorities. Photo: Getty Images.

Energy suffers

Energy shares took an especially heavy hit in Asia after benchmark U.S. crude-oil futures plunged 2.6% in New York trading Thursday.

In Hong Kong, shares of Cnooc Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/203421416/delayed HK:883 -1.23%   /zigman2/quotes/204964401/lastsale CEO -2.45% lost 1.3%, while those of PetroChina Co. /zigman2/quotes/204979431/delayed HK:857 -1.76%   /zigman2/quotes/205108732/lastsale PTR -1.81%   /zigman2/quotes/206980083/delayed CN:601857 -1.52%  dropped 1.9%.

Sydney-listed Woodside Petroleum Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/203437212/delayed AU:WPL +0.71%   /zigman2/quotes/206770672/delayed WOPEF +2.20%  and Origin Energy Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/207944120/delayed AU:ORG +0.87%   /zigman2/quotes/210354031/delayed OGFGF -29.72%  both fell 2.2%, while Santos Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/207349564/delayed AU:STO +2.67%   /zigman2/quotes/207933640/delayed STOSF +6.97%  lost 3%.

Caltex Australia Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/207954233/delayed AU:CTX -2.23%   /zigman2/quotes/207139709/delayed CTXAF -48.44% declined 0.9% after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced it has started a formal investigation into the sharing of price information by gasoline retailers. Read more on ACCC probe,

Overnight weakness in other commodities also hit resource shares across Asia. Australian gold miner Newcrest Mining Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/203840223/delayed AU:NCM +2.69%   /zigman2/quotes/206026738/delayed NCMGF -4.32%  dropped 3.8%, while Rio Tinto Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed AU:RIO -2.49%   /zigman2/quotes/202627887/lastsale RIO -3.05%  traded down 1.1%.

In Hong Kong, Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202960704/delayed HK:2600 -3.25%   /zigman2/quotes/208051344/lastsale ACH -6.20%   /zigman2/quotes/210453246/delayed CN:601600 0.00%  fell 3%, and resource-focused conglomerate Citic Pacific Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/205176597/delayed HK:267 -5.43%   /zigman2/quotes/208232395/delayed CTPCF +5.00%   traded lower by 1.7%.

Global economic uncertainty appeared to drag on exporters as well, with Sullivan saying that, “at the moment, everything is growing, but growth is very small and it will only take a couple of headwinds to derail it.”

Among major exporters moving lower, Hong Kong-listed apparel firm Esprit Holdings Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/205943307/delayed HK:330 -6.06%   /zigman2/quotes/209270177/delayed ESHDF -14.29%  down 5.5%, and Seoul-traded Samsung Electronics Co. /zigman2/quotes/202367843/delayed SSNLF 0.00%  losing 2.9%, despite the release of its new Galaxy phone.Read more on Samsung Electronics’ new Galaxy phone.

Concerns about global growth flow through to Asian stock markets in two ways, Sullivan said. The first is changes in allocation of global funds to Asia, while the second is that investors are reluctant to participate in the markets at all.  

“Retail investors aren’t taking part because they are getting run over by macro events,” he said. “The big gorillas are the American economy and Europe’s economy. The general view is that you see problems in Europe and problems in the U.S., [and] you don’t see that China is still growing.”

Separately, shares in Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/209086152/delayed HK:16 +0.20%   /zigman2/quotes/205427525/delayed SUHJY -1.84% fell 1.8%. The real-estate company, one of the world’s largest, said its former chairman Walter Kwok was arrested in connection with a high-profile bribery probe.

/zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed
KR : Korea Exchange
1,688.14
+2.68 +0.16%
Volume: 202,081
April 2, 2020 9:36a
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/zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed
AU : S&P ASX
5,131.20
-127.40 -2.42%
Volume: 269,560
April 2, 2020 11:36a
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/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/206600939/delayed
CN : China: Shenzhen
¥ 12.89
+0.09 +0.70%
Volume: 52.08M
April 1, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
9.21
Dividend Yield
1.69%
Market Cap
¥248.40 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥6.12M
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/zigman2/quotes/203421416/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 8.03
-0.10 -1.23%
Volume: 188.80M
April 1, 2020 4:08p
P/E Ratio
5.18
Dividend Yield
9.71%
Market Cap
HK$362.98 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$13.96M
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/zigman2/quotes/204964401/lastsale
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 100.93
-2.54 -2.45%
Volume: 209,608
April 1, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
5.35
Dividend Yield
8.89%
Market Cap
$46.20 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.78M
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/zigman2/quotes/204979431/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 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
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/zigman2/quotes/205108732/lastsale
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
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/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
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/zigman2/quotes/203437212/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 19.78
+0.14 +0.71%
Volume: 1.82M
April 2, 2020 11:36a
P/E Ratio
38.27
Dividend Yield
6.89%
Market Cap
$17.34 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.92M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/206770672/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 11.15
+0.24 +2.20%
Volume: 9,759
April 1, 2020 5:20p
P/E Ratio
30.34
Dividend Yield
8.16%
Market Cap
$10.62 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.43M
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/zigman2/quotes/207944120/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 4.64
+0.04 +0.87%
Volume: 1.37M
April 2, 2020 11:36a
P/E Ratio
8.07
Dividend Yield
6.47%
Market Cap
$7.71 billion
Rev. per Employee
$2.70M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210354031/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 2.01
-0.85 -29.72%
Volume: 78,821
April 1, 2020 5:20p
P/E Ratio
5.04
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$4.78 billion
Rev. per Employee
$2.01M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207349564/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 3.85
+0.10 +2.67%
Volume: 4.11M
April 2, 2020 11:36a
P/E Ratio
8.36
Dividend Yield
4.27%
Market Cap
$7.11 billion
Rev. per Employee
$2.29M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207933640/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 2.36
+0.15 +6.97%
Volume: 26,941
April 1, 2020 10:05a
P/E Ratio
7.36
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$4.41 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.71M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207954233/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 22.78
-0.52 -2.23%
Volume: 221,150
April 2, 2020 11:36a
P/E Ratio
15.08
Dividend Yield
3.64%
Market Cap
$5.57 billion
Rev. per Employee
$3.25M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207139709/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 10.75
-10.10 -48.44%
Volume: 11,454
April 1, 2020 5:20p
P/E Ratio
10.27
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$2.68 billion
Rev. per Employee
$2.43M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203840223/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 24.03
+0.63 +2.69%
Volume: 547,743
April 2, 2020 11:36a
P/E Ratio
23.07
Dividend Yield
1.37%
Market Cap
$17.69 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/206026738/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 14.07
-0.64 -4.32%
Volume: 146,619
April 1, 2020 2:06p
P/E Ratio
19.38
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$11.28 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 86.20
-2.20 -2.49%
Volume: 398,912
April 2, 2020 11:36a
P/E Ratio
12.29
Dividend Yield
7.63%
Market Cap
$137.41 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.14M
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/zigman2/quotes/202627887/lastsale
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 44.17
-1.39 -3.05%
Volume: 3.91M
April 1, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
9.02
Dividend Yield
8.65%
Market Cap
$57.16 billion
Rev. per Employee
$852,406
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/zigman2/quotes/202960704/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 1.49
-0.05 -3.25%
Volume: 24.38M
April 1, 2020 4:08p
P/E Ratio
206.94
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
HK$26.21 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$3.03M
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/zigman2/quotes/208051344/lastsale
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 4.69
-0.31 -6.20%
Volume: 93,261
April 1, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
25.57
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$788.79 million
Rev. per Employee
$387,394
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210453246/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
¥ 2.88
0.00 0.00%
Volume: 27.00M
April 1, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
57.60
Dividend Yield
0.40%
Market Cap
¥49.03 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥2.53M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205176597/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 7.67
-0.44 -5.43%
Volume: 21.37M
April 1, 2020 4:08p
P/E Ratio
4.14
Dividend Yield
5.74%
Market Cap
HK$235.92 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$2.10M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/208232395/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 1.05
+0.05 +5.00%
Volume: 71,000
April 1, 2020 5:20p
P/E Ratio
4.44
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$30.54 billion
Rev. per Employee
$268,597
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205943307/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 0.62
-0.04 -6.06%
Volume: 4.72M
April 1, 2020 4:08p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
HK$1.24 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$2.22M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/209270177/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 0.15
-0.03 -14.29%
Volume: 0.00
March 3, 2020 12:25p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$282.77 million
Rev. per Employee
$282,733
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202367843/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 44.20
0.00 0.00%
Volume: 0.00
March 24, 2020 5:20p
P/E Ratio
16.29
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$300.24 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/209086152/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 102.40
+0.20 +0.20%
Volume: 5.53M
April 1, 2020 4:08p
P/E Ratio
7.44
Dividend Yield
4.83%
Market Cap
HK$296.15 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$1.86M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205427525/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 12.83
-0.24 -1.84%
Volume: 324,493
April 1, 2020 3:59p
P/E Ratio
7.31
Dividend Yield
4.63%
Market Cap
$38.21 billion
Rev. per Employee
$236,802
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Sarah Turner is MarketWatch's bureau chief in Sydney. Nick Godt is a MarketWatch reporter based in Mumbai.

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