Bloomberg News

Most Asian Stocks Drop; Nikkei 225 Closes Higher on Yen

January 17, 2013

Most Asian shares declined after the regional benchmark touched a 17-month high this week. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) closed less than 0.1 percent higher after swinging amid currency fluctuations.

GS Yuasa Corp. (6674), a supplier of batteries for Boeing Co.’s 787 aircraft, slumped 5 percent in Tokyo after the Federal Aviation Administration ordered airlines to prove the batteries are safe. Evergrande (3333) Real Estate Group Ltd., China’s biggest developer by sales volume, sank 7.1 percent in Hong Kong after announcing a share sale. Rio Tinto Group (RIO), the world’s second- largest mining company, said after the market close it will take an impairment charge of about $14 billion.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) fell 0.3 percent to 131.20 as of 8:26 p.m. Tokyo time after rising as much as 0.6 percent and falling as much as 0.6 percent. About five stocks dropped for every four that gained on the measure. The gauge rallied 9.8 percent from Nov. 14 through yesterday as Japanese shares surged on speculation Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will pursue more aggressive stimulus policies and reports showed signs of economic recovery in the U.S. and China.

“We’re seeing some profit-taking following recent gains,” said Yoji Takeda, who oversees about $1.2 billion as Hong Kong- based head of Asian equities at RBC Investment Management (Asia) Ltd. “This profit-taking is temporary. Valuations have gotten a little bit higher but are not yet expensive. The macroeconomic backdraft is still supportive of equities.”

Nikkei, Yen

The Nikkei 225 rose less than 0.1 percent, erasing a decline of as much as 1.6 percent in the final minute of trading in Tokyo. The gauge had been heading for a two-day retreat of as much as 4.1 percent, the biggest such drop since September 2011.

The yen fell 0.3 percent to 88.6 against the dollar as of 3:20 p.m. in Tokyo, after reversing earlier gains of as much as 0.3 percent. A stronger yen reduces the overseas earnings by Japanese exporters when repatriated.

The Nikkei 225 advanced 22 percent through yesterday from Nov. 14, when the announcement of elections fanned speculation a new government would press the Bank of Japan for more monetary easing to drive down the yen.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP) declined 1.1 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost 0.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi Index slid 0.2 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.4 percent.

Rio Impairment Charge

Rio Tinto slid 1.5 percent to A$64.60 in Sydney today. The miner said after the close Chief Executive Officer Tom Albanese will step down as the company prepares to slash the value of acquisitions he oversaw by about $14 billion.

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. (FMG), Australia’s third-largest producer of iron ore, slid 4.2 percent to A$4.38 in Sydney after prices for the metal fell. Iron ore, which surged 68 percent since September, fell the most in 13 months yesterday, according data from The Steel Index Ltd.

GS Yuasa dropped 5 percent to 305 yen in Tokyo. The company said it may take months to complete its investigation into what triggered the emergency landing of an All Nippon Airways Co. Dreamliner. The company needs to find out whether yesterday’s emergency was caused by an issue with the battery or if the entire electrical system is at fault, its spokesman Hiroharu Nakano said by phone today.

Evergrande slumped 7.1 percent to HK$4.32 in Hong Kong after saying it’s seeking to place 1 billion shares at HK$4.35 each for working capital and to repay debt.

Shares on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index traded at 14.1 times estimated earnings, compared with 13.3 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.

Futures on the S&P 500 were little changed today. Most U.S. stocks fell yesterday as a cut in the World Bank’s growth growth forecast offset a rally in Apple Inc. shares.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Burgos in Singapore at jburgos4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at ngentle2@bloomberg.net


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