Asia stocks fell, with the benchmark index heading for its sixth day of decline, as investors weighed Chinese inflation data. Japanese shares extended their rally, while consumer and energy stocks slid.
Seven & I Holdings Co., Japan’s biggest operator of convenience stores, slid 1.7 percent. Cnooc Ltd., China’s largest offshore oil producer, fell 1.1 percent. Myer Holdings Ltd. slumped 13 percent after the Australian retailer’s full-year profit missed estimates. SK Holdings Co., a South Korean company with interests in energy and telecommunications, surged 6.3 percent after announcing a share buyback.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.2 percent to 146.40 as of 4:30 p.m. in Hong Kong after rising as much as 0.2 percent. The equity gauge declined 1.6 percent in the past five days as investors weighed the outlook for U.S. monetary policy ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee’s meeting next week. China’s Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.3 percent, capping a second day of decline after touching the highest since March 2013 this week.
“Investors are unwinding positions as the market had a pretty big run up,” Stan Shamu, a market strategist at IG Ltd. in Melbourne, said. “The market has gotten accustomed to a situation where weaker Chinese data just encourages economic stimulus. This doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. They’re focused more on reforms and if they do introduce stimulus, it will be a bit measured.”
China’s consumer price index last month rose 2 percent from a year earlier, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics today. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected a 2.2 percent gain. Factory-gate prices extended their decline to 30 months, adding room for government stimulus to support the economy amid a property slump.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 0.2 percent and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland shares lost 0.8 percent after tumbling yesterday by the most since February.
“Investors are closely watching China’s inflation data,” Desmond Chua, a strategist at CMC Markets in Singapore, said. “Slackening imports and declining commodity prices point to underlying weakness in Chinese demand.”
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 0.5 percent. The nation’s jobless rate fell to 6.1 percent in August from 6.4 percent a month earlier as employers added 121,000 jobs, a report showed. South Korea’s Kospi index slipped 0.7 percent as it resumed trading following holidays this week. Taiwan’s Taiex index lost 0.4 percent. India’s S&P BSE Sensex index decreased rose 0.1 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 0.3 percent.
New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index climbed 0.5 percent after the central bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged. Japan’s Topix index rose 0.3 percent, extending a six-year high, as the yen weakened past 107 per dollar for the first time since 2008.
“The rally in Japanese equities will continue,” CMC’s Chua said. “The yen will continue to weaken as the dollar strengthens amid prospects of an interest-rate hike in the U.S.”
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index traded at 13.6 times estimated earnings at the last close, compared with 16.7 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 15.5 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
Futures on the S&P 500 fell 0.2 percent after the U.S. equity benchmark gauge rebounded 0.4 percent yesterday. The Nasdaq 100 Index advanced 0.8 percent as a rally in Apple shares lifted technology companies.
“We’re going to get some volatility until you’re through the Fed meeting,” Kirk Hartman, who helps oversee about $331 billion as Los Angeles-based chief investment officer at Wells Capital Management, said. “Everything looks good until the Fed starts raising interest rates. Any kind of rapid increase in rates is going to be a shock for the markets but I don’t anticipate that.”
The Fed is gauging the strength of the economy as it winds down a bond-buying program and considers raising rates. Data this week may show that claims for unemployment benefits fell, retail sales improved, and consumer confidence rose, strengthening the case for higher rates next year as the world’s largest economy continues its recovery.
Energy and consumer companies led losses among the 10 industry groups on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. Cnooc slipped 1.1 percent to HK$14.64 in Hong Kong as West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures headed for the lowest close in 16 months. Seven & I slid 1.7 percent to 4,040 yen in Tokyo.
Myer Holdings tumbled 13 percent to A$2.15 in Sydney, the steepest drop on record. The company reported full-year adjusted net income declined to A$98.5 million from A$127.2 million. That compares with the average estimate of A$101.4 million by 16 analysts in a Bloomberg survey.
Lenovo Group Ltd. slumped 4.2 percent to HK$11.88 in Hong Kong, the worst performer on the Hang Seng Index. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Yang Yuanqing has sold shares, reducing his stake in the Chinese computer maker to 7.43 percent from 7.68, according to filings to the Hong Kong bourse.
Among shares that advanced, SK Holdings jumped 6.3 percent to 178,000 won in Seoul, its biggest gain since October 2011. The company said it plans to buy back as many as 2.35 million shares by Dec. 5.
Japanese exporters advanced as the yen weakened. Sony Corp., the maker of the PlayStation game consoles, climbed 2.7 percent to 2,104.5 yen. Honda Motor Co., the carmarker that gets about 84 percent of sales overseas, added 1 percent to 3,663.5 yen.
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