Asian stocks fell, with the benchmark index posting its longest losing streak in 4 1/2 years, as Chinese lending data added to signs the region’s biggest economy is weakening.
Cnooc Ltd., China’s biggest offshore oil producer, slipped 2.3 percent. Citic Ltd. slumped 4.1 percent after Hong Kong’s securities regulator sued the unit of the mainland’s biggest diversified state-owned company.
Asahi Group Holdings Ltd., a Japanese brewer, lost 1 percent on a report beer sales in the nation fell last month. Sony Corp. rose 1.1 percent as Walt Disney Co. and 21st Century Fox Inc. were said to be in talks to supply programming for its planned Internet TV service.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.2 percent to 145.97 as of 6:33 p.m. in Hong Kong, retreating for a seventh day. The equity gauge posted a 1.7 percent decline this week as investors weigh the outlook for U.S. monetary policy and economic reports from China.
“Investors are a little bit cautious in a market where valuations are elevated,” Matthew Sherwood, Sydney-based head of investment markets research at Perpetual Ltd., which manages about $29 billion, said. “Asia is struggling at the moment to hold its growth momentum. China is going to slow further. This is starting to slow the momentum in the Asian financial markets.”
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index has climbed 12 percent from its February low, pushing valuations on the gauge to 13.7 times estimated earnings. That compares with 16.7 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 15.5 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
A report Friday showed aggregate financing, China’s broadest measure of credit, trailed estimates in August, adding to the government’s challenge to meet its economic growth target amid a slumping property market and a pullback in manufacturing. Data released earlier in the week showed the nation’s consumer inflation eased to a four-month low last month, while imports declined.
Taiwan’s Taiex index sank 1.1 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index fell 0.7 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index each lost 0.3 percent. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies traded in city slid 0.2 percent. China’s Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.9 percent, capping a two-week advance.
South Korea’s Kospi index climbed 0.4 percent after the nation’s central bank kept borrowing costs unchanged as Asia’s fourth-largest economy slows. Japan’s Topix index added 0.2 percent, extending a six-year high, as the yen traded weaker than 107 per dollar. Singapore’s Straits Times Index lost 0.1 percent.
The U.S. will join the European Union in stiffening sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, prompting the government in Moscow to threaten retaliation. European companies and taxpayers “will have to pick up the costs” for the penalties, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told Interfax.
Energy companies led losses among the 10 industry groups on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. Cnooc dropped 2.3 percent to HK$14.30 in Hong Kong. China Coal Energy Co. slipped 1.3 percent to HK$4.62.
Citic slumped 4.1 percent to HK$14.18. Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission is seeking sanctions against the company, ex-chairman Larry Yung and other former executives for allegedly disclosing false or misleading information over losses in 2008, the regulator said in a statement yesterday. It’s also seeking court orders to compensate as many as 4,500 investors in the company.
Asahi lost 1 percent to 3,244 yen. Beer sales in Japan dropped about 10 percent from a year earlier in August, the Mainichi newspaper reported, citing calculations based on data from brewers.
Australian lenders declined after UBS AG said the government may require the nation’s top four banks to hold additional capital of as much as A$68.67 billion ($62 billion). Westpac Banking Corp. lost 1.1 percent to A$34.25. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. slid 0.9 percent to A$32.83.
Japanese exporters gained as the yen traded near a six-year low. Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest carmaker, climbed 1.4 percent to 6,303 yen. Komatsu Ltd., a maker of construction equipment that gets about 78 percent of sales overseas, added 1.2 percent to 2,522.50 yen.
Sony rose 1.1 percent to 2,127 yen. Disney and Fox would join Viacom Inc., which said yesterday it will provide 22 television networks to Sony, the first time the U.S. media company has made its shows available for a Web-based service.
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