Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Asian Stocks Snap Six-Day on European Economic Slowdown

By Jonathan Burgos - Jul 5, 2012 10:14 AM GMT+0800 Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index headed for its first loss in seven days, as a worsening economic slump in Europe overshadowed expectations the European Central Bank will cut interest rates today. Esprit Holdings Ltd. (330), a clothier that counts Europe as its largest market, slid 1.5 percent in Hong Kong. Aquarius Platinum Ltd. tumbled 8.9 percent in Sydney after saying output will decline. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (8306), Japan’s biggest publicly traded lender by market value, gained 1 percent in Tokyo after Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said today the BOJ will continue monetary easing. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) lost 0.4 percent to 118.77 as of 11:12 a.m. in Tokyo, with almost three shares falling for every two that rose. The gauge climbed yesterday to its highest level since May 10 after euro-zone leaders last week agreed to relax conditions for rescuing lenders, easing concern about the region’s debt crisis. “The market remains skeptical that policy measures in Europe will be in place in a timely fashion,” said Tim Schroeders, a portfolio manager who helps manage $1 billion in equities at Pengana Capital Ltd. in Melbourne. “Significant details still need to be addressed, but for the time being the initiatives to tackle the debt crisis have broadened.” Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) lost 0.1 percent after swinging earlier gaining as much as 0.3 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.2 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index both dropped 0.4 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index declined 1.2 percent.

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