Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Jessica Biel Michael Thompson Photoshoot
Asian Shares End Lower; Metal Stocks Drop ;-
Asian shares suffered a sharp pullback Tuesday as a fall in U.S. stocks and commodity prices weighed on markets in the region.
The Nikkei 225 Average ended 1.5% lower at 10212.46 in Tokyo, China's Shanghai Composite fell 2.8% to 3021.46, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 ended down 1.6% and South Korea's Kospi slid 0.5%.
Andrew Sullivan, sales trader at Main First Securities, said the strong corporate results in the U.S. as well as in Japan were only being aided by stimulus measures. "People are becoming more concerned, looking to lower the beta of their portfolios to minimize the downside risk," said Mr. Sullivan. Still, "nobody wants to sell, because every time you sell, the markets have seen a rally. There is inertia at the moment to sell."
The Hang Seng Index shed 1.9% to 22,169.59 as trading resumed after Monday's holiday, with property developers falling after the Hong Kong Monetary Authority Friday said the city's luxury property market was overheated with prices exceeding the peak in 1997. Henderson Land Development slumped 4.3% and Sun Hung Kai Properties lost 3.4%, while Sino Land sank 5.4%, amid worries of more government measures to cool the city's skyrocketing property prices.
The Sensex lost 2.3% in Mumbai afternoon trading. The Reserve Bank of India left its benchmark lending rate unchanged at 4.75%, as widely expected, but banks and real estate stocks were taking a beating after the RBI raised the provisioning requirements for lenders. Shares of ICICI Bank lost 6.1% and State Bank of India gave up 4.5%, while real estate developer DLF sank 6.6%.
Elsewhere, Taiwan's Taiex slipped 0.1%, New Zealand's NZX 50 gave up 0.7% and the Philippines' main index dropped 0.2%. Singapore's Straits Times Index declined 0.8%.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were recently up three points in screen trade after falling sharply in the previous two sessions.
Resource-related shares were lower across Asia, with Inpex dropping 1.6% in Tokyo, Woodside Petroleum falling 2.5% in Sydney, while shares of PetroChina gave up 2.1% in Hong Kong and 2.6% in Shanghai.
Front-month Nymex crude oil futures were recently up 39 cents at $79.07 a barrel on Globex, after dropping $1.82, or 2.3%, in New York trade.
Metals stocks posted big losses in Shanghai as well as the rest of the region, with Aluminum Corp. of China falling 4.4% and Yunnan Chihong Zinc & Germanium losing 4.5% in Shanghai. Sumitomo Metal Mining slid 3.5% in Tokyo and Hindalco Industries dropped 7.9% in Mumbai trading.
"There is profit-taking in the air but I think the market will regain its upward momentum after the correction, unless the Shanghai index drops below 3000," said Zhou Lin at Huatai Securities.
Shipping stocks lost ground in Tokyo after Nippon Yusen K.K. swung to a quarterly loss and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines' quarterly profit plunged. Nippon Yusen dropped 2.5% and Mitsui O.S.K. lost 2.5%, with Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha shrinking 6.4%.
In spite of the fall in Tokyo, some analysts expected exporters to find support from the yen's recent weakness.
"The foreign exchange rate may help the market from falling sharply," said Yumi Nishimura, a market analyst at Daiwa Securities SMBC. The U.S. dollar continued to trade around the 92 yen level through the session. It was recently buying 91.92 yen, after rising as high as 92.25 yen earlier in the day from 92.22 yen late in New York.
The euro recovered from its early fall and was recently buying $1.4886 from $1.4865 late in New York. It was also fetching 136.86 yen from 137.08 yen.
Still, the euro was showing signs of strain, said analysts at UBS. While "few observers would deny the euro zone is enjoying a moderate economic recovery, the rapid rebound in activity and sentiment looks to be slowing. Valuations in asset markets already look hard to justify according to current growth figures, and if growth itself stutters, overstretched risk positions will need to correct."
Spot gold was recently at $1,040.40 a troy ounce, up $2.40 from New York close.