Asian stocks fell after China’s economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter as gains in factory output and investment spending eased.
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the nation’s biggest lender by market value, dropped 2.1 percent in Hong Kong. Nintendo Co. sank 6.2 percent in Tokyo, the second-biggest decline on the regional benchmark index, after the maker of Wii video-game consoles forecast a surprise full-year loss. Ssangyong Motor Co. rose 1.4 percent after controlling shareholder Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. announced plans to invest 1 trillion won ($939 million) in the South Korean carmaker.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.2 percent to 139.22 as of 8:32 p.m. in Tokyo, with six of the gauge’s 10 industry groups falling. The measure finished last week within 2 points of its closing level for 2013 as investors weighed signs of a stronger global economy against concern about equity valuations.
“We’ve not had a fantastic start this year,” Vasu Menon, vice-president for wealth management research at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. in Singapore, told Bloomberg TV. “Asia is facing economic headwinds. China is trying to engineer an economic slowdown to ensure more sustainable economic growth. We’re likely to see more volatility in the coming weeks as the U.S. earnings season gains pace.”
Chinaâs economy expanded 7.7 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said today. That compares with 7.8 percent growth in the previous three months.
Industrial production rose 9.7 percent in December from a year earlier, data showed, down from a 10 percent gain in November. Retail sales last month rose 13.6 percent from a year earlier, slowing from 13.7 percent in November.
Fixed-asset investment in China excluding rural households increased 19.6 percent in the January-to-December period from a year earlier, when it expanded 20.6 percent.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.7 percent. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies traded in Hong Kong slid 1.3 percent, while the city’s benchmark Hang Seng Index dropped 0.9 percent.
New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index lost 0.1 percent. A magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck the country’s North Island today, shaking capital city Wellington and sending the nation’s currency lower.
Thailand’s SET Index dropped 0.4 percent. The risk of the country defaulting on its debt rose to the highest level since August after two explosions rocked a protest site where demonstrators are pushing for the removal of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Japan’s Topix (TPX) index lost 0.3 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index decreased 0.2 percent and Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 0.6 percent. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.5 percent and Taiwan’s Taiex index rose 0.3 percent.
India’s S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.7 percent as the nation’s 10-year sovereign bond yield fell to the lowest level since October after the central bank said it will buy debt this week. The rupee weakened.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell less than 0.1 percent. The measure slid 0.4 percent on Jan. 17 as earnings at companies from General Electric Co. to Intel Corp. disappointed investors. U.S. equity markets are closed for a holiday today.
The Asia-Pacific stocks gauge traded at 13.1 times estimated earnings as of Jan. 17, compared with 15.6 for the S&P 500 and 14.1 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“Until we see a clear upside catalyst emerge in the near-term, we may see this lack of enthusiasm persist for some time,” Tim Radford, a strategist at Rivkin Securities in Sydney, wrote in an e-mail.
Chinese lenders declined in Hong Kong. ICBC slipped 2.1 percent to HK$4.78. China Construction Bank Corp. (939), the nation’s second-largest lender by market value, lost 1.8 percent to HK$5.39. Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. dropped 1.7 percent to HK$3.39.
Nintendo sank 6.2 percent to 13,745 yen at the close in Tokyo, the biggest decline since September, after falling as much as 19 percent. The company is under pressure to consider exiting production of video-game machines after reporting disappointing sales of its Wii U console and forecasting a surprise loss, said Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.
Glorious Property Holdings Ltd. tumbled 27 percent to HK$1.25, its biggest drop on record, after shareholders rejected Chinese billionaire Zhang Zhirong’s offer to take the property developer private.
Among shares that rose, Ssangyong Motor added 1.4 percent to 8,060 won in Seoul. Mahindra & Mahindra, an Indian carmaker, is planning to invest 1 trillion won in its South Korean unit to develop new models and hire more workers, South Korean President Park Geun Hye said in India on Jan. 18.
Zhongsheng Group Holdings Ltd., a distributor of Volkswagen AG’s Porsches and Audis and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz cars in China, surged 8.9 percent to HK$12.54 in Hong Kong after the company said it is raising as much as HK$5.6 billion ($722 million) by issuing shares and selling convertible bonds to Jardine Strategic Holdings Ltd.
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