Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index retreating a second day from the highest since August 2011, after mixed reports on Chinese manufacturing. Japanese shares advanced on earnings and a weaker yen.
China Overseas Land (688) & Investment Ltd., the biggest mainland developer listed in Hong Kong, slumped 2.3 percent after home prices in China posted their biggest gain in two years, sparking concern that the government will introduce additional property curbs. NEC Corp. (6701) surged 8.5 percent after the maker of telecommunications equipment returned to profit in the third quarter from a loss a year earlier. Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), which last year regained its position as the top-selling carmaker, rose 3 percent in Tokyo after the yen weakened.
MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) slid 0.2 percent to 132.91 as of 7:27 p.m. in Tokyo after rising as much as 0.3 percent. Nine shares advanced for every eight that fell on the measure, which is headed for a 0.9 percent gain this week. The regional gauge is denominated in U.S. dollars so declines today by the yen reduced the value of companies in the measure.
“Economic data has been mixed,” said Ayako Sera, a market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Ltd., which has 33 trillion yen ($359 billion) in assets. “The real economy isn’t catching up, and people may be expecting more easing. In Japan, optimism about the nation’s new government is having a stronger impact than corporate earnings.”
The regional benchmark yesterday capped a three-month advance amid a rally in Japanese shares on optimism Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s new government will take steps to end deflation. The equity gauge traded at 14.5 times average estimated earnings yesterday, compared with 13.6 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.2 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Nikkei 225 Streak
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) rose 0.5 percent today, capping a 12th weekly advance, extending its longest such streak since at least 1970. Trading volume on the gauge was 22 percent above the 30-day intraday average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Of the 130 companies on the Topix Index that have reported earnings so far this quarter and for which Bloomberg has estimates, 59 percent have exceeded profit expectations. Some 51 percent of companies missed sales projections, the data show.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was little changed, while Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.4 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index increased 0.9 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi Index slid 0.2 percent.
China’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index was 50.4 in January, the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said today in Beijing. That compares with an estimate of 51 in a Bloomberg News survey of 33 economists and 50.6 in December. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
A separate mainland manufacturing index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics showed a reading of 52.3, more than economists’ estimates and higher than 51.5 the month before.
Chinese developers dropped after China’s new home prices rose 1 percent in January, according to SouFun Holdings Ltd., the country’s biggest real estate website owner. Rapid price gains may spark concern about policy tightening, Alan Jin, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd., wrote in an e-mail.
China Overseas Land slid 2.3 percent to HK$23.50 in Hong Kong, and China Resources Land Ltd., a state-owned developer, slid 2.5 percent to HK$23.
Yakult Honsha Co. slumped 8.7 percent to 3,520 yen in Tokyo after a report Danone SA won’t attempt a hostile takeover of the yogurt-drink maker.
Shiseido Co. tumbled 7.3 percent to 1,174 yen after the Japanese cosmetics maker cut its full-year profit forecast by 52 percent. The company said it would take a 6 billion yen impairment charge next quarter for restructuring.
Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. slumped 8.1 percent to 42,800 won in Seoul after Edaily reported speculation that affiliate Doosan Engineering & Construction Co. may sell new shares. The equipment maker is the engineering firm’s top shareholder, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Doosan Engineering tumbled 11 percent to 2,980 won.
Futures on the S&P 500 rose 0.4 percent. The gauge yesterday completed its best January rally since 1997. U.S. payrolls data today are expected to show employers added 165,000 jobs last month, according to economists’ estimates.
NEC surged 8.5 percent to 242 yen after reporting a third- quarter profit of 24 billion yen, compared with a 8.2 billion yen loss a year earlier.
Japanese carmakers rose after the yen fell to its lowest level in 2 1/2 years against the dollar and euro on speculation Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will choose a new Bank of Japan governor who supports adding stimulus. A weaker yen boosts overseas income for Japan’s exporters.
Toyota rose 3 percent to 4,495 yen, while Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (7270), maker of Subaru cars, advanced 4.1 percent to 1,282 yen.
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