Thursday, July 3, 2008

Most Asian Stocks Decline on Record Oil Prices; Kansai Falls

By Chen Shiyin and Chua Kong Ho

July 4 (Bloomberg) -- Most Asian stocks fell, sending the region's benchmark index to its fourth weekly decline in a row, on speculation record crude-oil prices will dent profits.

Kansai Electric Power Co. led power producers lower after oil rose above $145 a barrel. Shanghai Airlines Co. paced declines among carriers after saying it may miss a profit target. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell for a 12th day, its longest losing streak in 54 years.

The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index was little changed at 132.45 at 10:43 a.m. Tokyo time, after dropping to its lowest since March 17 yesterday. Six of the 10 industry groups on the gauge fell today, with about four stocks retreating for every three that rose.

The index's four-week, 12 percent slump will be its longest losing streak since the period ended Feb. 8. The measure fell 13 percent in the first half, the worst start since 1992. All Asian benchmark indexes declined this week, except Vietnam.

Japan's Nikkei 225 slid 0.3 percent to 13,232.13, capping a 12-day, 8.4 percent slump. The decline is the longest since 1954. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index dropped 1.9 percent, Asia's largest decline, after trading resumed in Malaysia following a one-day suspension because of a systems failure.

Most U.S. stocks fell yesterday, completing the longest streak of weekly declines in four years, after Nvidia Corp. reduced its sales forecast. Markets are closed today for the Independence Day holiday.

Kansai, Tenaga

Kansai, Japan's second-largest power producer by market value, lost 1.4 percent to 2,465 yen. Rival Chubu Electric Power Co. fell 1.4 percent to 2,545 yen. Tenaga Nasional Bhd., a Malaysian state-controlled power producer, dropped 3.8 percent to 7.70 ringgit.

Crude oil rose 1.2 percent to $145.29 a barrel yesterday in New York and touched a record high of $145.85 during the day. Futures have more than doubled from a year earlier.

Shanghai Airlines fell 1.5 percent to 5.45 yuan after President Fan Hongxi said the carrier will find it ``very difficult'' to meet its profit target after jet fuel prices rose to a record.

AirAsia Bhd., Southeast Asia's biggest discount carrier, dropped 3.8 percent to 89.5 sen in Malaysia. Korean Air Lines Co., South Korea's largest airline, lost 1.4 percent to 42,600 won.

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