Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index paring its weekly advance, as speculation the Federal Reserve will reduce stimulus in coming months overshadowed improving China manufacturing data.
Sony (6758) Corp. slumped the most in five years in Tokyo after the television and digital camera maker unexpectedly lowered its full-year profit forecast by 40 percent. Sydney Airport sank 3.6 percent after its largest shareholder Macquarie Group Ltd. announced plans to give some of its stake to its investors. Panasonic Corp. surged 6.2 percent, a fifth day of gains, after doubling its full-year profit forecast.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.5 percent to 141.61 as of 6:56 p.m. in Hong Kong, as all 10 industry groups retreated. More than two shares declined for each that rose. The measure has advanced 0.2 percent this week and climbed 2.7 percent in October for its first back-to-back monthly rally since April.
This is “the start of a phase of consolidation that should last a few weeks,” Michael Bogoevski, head of sales trading at CMC Markets in Sydney, said in an e-mail. “There is the likelihood that the Fed is looking to cut back on its bond-buying program in the coming weeks or months, not in March as previously forecast.”
U.S. data yesterday showed the biggest jump in a gauge of business activity in more than three decades and a drop in jobless claims, before a report today projected to show American factory output expanded. Chinese manufacturing grew in October at a faster pace than the previous month, according to an official report today.
Japan’s Topix index lost 0.9 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.3 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index declined 0.3 percent and Taiwan’s Taiex Index retreated 0.7 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.2 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.4 percent. South Korea’s Kospi Index rose 0.5 percent.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index’s October advance pushed its price-earnings ratio to 13.7 times estimated earnings from 12.7 at the end of August, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with 15.9 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 14.9 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index yesterday.
A little more than a half of the 307 companies in the Asia-Pacific measure tracked by Bloomberg that reported results this quarter and for which estimates are available have missed analyst predictions for profit, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Sony sank 11 percent to 1,668 yen, the biggest slump since Oct. 24, 2008, as stalling television and digital camera demand and box office flops curbed its outlook.
NTT Data Corp. (9613) declined 4.8 percent to 3,095 yen after the network-service provider cut its full-year net-income and operating-profit forecasts.
Panasonic surged 6.2 percent to 1,046 yen. SoftBank Corp. (9984) advanced 3.4 percent to 7,550 yen after quarterly profit at Japan’s No. 3 wireless carrier beat analyst estimates.
Japan’s Topix trailed every other developed market last month, with the steepest rally in 40 years petering out on concern a higher sales tax will curb growth while U.S. stimulus bolsters the yen. The gauge rose less than 0.1 percent in October, the smallest gain among 24 developed markets tracked by Bloomberg. The measure remains the best performer this year with a 37 percent surge.
Futures on the S&P 500 rose 0.1 percent today. The equity gauge yesterday slipped 0.4 percent on speculation the Fed will scale back stimulus in coming months as investors assessed earnings.
Sydney Airport lost 3.6 percent to A$4.04. Macquarie plans to issue about 340 million of the company’s shares to its holders on Jan. 13 and to distribute one Sydney Airport share for each Macquarie share.
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