By V. Phani Kumar And Shri Navaratnam
Shanghai stocks tumbled 4.3% Tuesday, ending at a 14-month low, on concerns the mainland economy could slow in coming months. The fall in China dragged down other regional markets.
Japanese shares were hurt by a sharp fall in the euro and the dollar against the yen, which weighed on the nation's exporters.
China's Shanghai Composite fell 108.23 points to 2427.05, its lowest close since April 2009. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 2.3% to 20248.90, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average shed 1.3% to 9570.67, South Korea's Kospi declined 1.4% to 1707.76, India's Sensex fell 1.4% to 17534.09, and Singapore's Straits Times Index slid 1.4% to 2830.34. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.9% to 4345.67.
Resource stocks stumbled across the region on concerns about demand. BHP Billiton /zigman2/quotes/208108397/composite BHP -0.29% dropped 1% and Woodside Petroleum /zigman2/quotes/203437212/delayed AU:WPL -0.59% skidded 1.6% in Sydney, Inpex declined 3.8% and trading house Mitsui & Co. lost 3.2% in Tokyo, Sterlite Industries fell 1.4% in Mumbai, and Cnooc tumbled 3.6% in Hong Kong.
China's big drop came after the New York-based Conference Board said its leading economic indicator for China rose 0.3% in April, correcting a previous reading of a 1.7% increase and attributing the earlier reading to a calculation error. The 0.3% reading represents a sharp fall from the 1.2% rise recorded in March.
Analysts also cited concerns over the slightly lower-than-expected price range for the Shanghai part of Agricultural Bank of China's initial public offering. "The IPO price range was pegged slightly lower, reflecting that investment activity may be slowing down," said Xu Yinhui at Guotai Junan Securities.
Chinese property, airline and metal stocks fell in Shanghai on the concerns about a slowdown in the economy. Gemdale slumped 9.9% and Poly Real Estate Group /zigman2/quotes/201864015/delayed CN:600048 -2.30% dropped 7.1%, Jiangxi Copper tumbled 7% and Hainan Airlines /zigman2/quotes/203177958/delayed CN:600221 -1.12% plummeted 8.8%. Banking shares also fell, though they slightly outperformed the main index. China Construction Bank /zigman2/quotes/208058581/delayed CN:601939 -0.14% dropped 3.5% and China Merchants Bank /zigman2/quotes/209899244/delayed HK:3968 -1.56% declined 3.6%.
In Tokyo, exporters that lost ground on the yen's strength included Casio Computer /zigman2/quotes/202492162/delayed JP:6952 -0.53% , down 3.8%, Fanuc /zigman2/quotes/202054799/delayed JP:6954 +2.21% , off 2.2%, and Isuzu Motors /zigman2/quotes/202637468/delayed JP:7202 -0.12% , down 2.5%.
In Seoul, Asiana Airlines gained 5.2%, helped by expectations of strong earnings.
In Hong Kong, Li & Fung tumbled 4.8% after UBS downgraded the supplier to global retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores to "sell" from "neutral," citing weaker orders from Europe.