Asian stocks fell to a three-month low after China’s Finance Minister Lou Jiwei damped speculation the government will boost economic stimulus. New Zealand shares surged as the government was returned to power in an election.
SoftBank Corp. tumbled 6.1 percent, the largest drag on the regional gauge, after Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s initial public offering reduced the allure of the Japanese carrier as a proxy for the Chinese e-commerce company. China Galaxy Securities Co., a Hong Kong-listed broker part-owned by China’s sovereign wealth fund, slumped 5.5 percent after saying its fixed-income chief and two other employees are cooperating with the nation’s judicial authority.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.8 percent to 143.41 as of 6:46 p.m. in Hong Kong, following two weeks of losses. Lou said the government will not make major policy changes in response to economic indicators, after data last week showed foreign direct investment dropped to a four-year low and home prices fell in all but two cities tracked by authorities.
“Definitely they are not going to go for large stimulus packages,” Geoff Lewis, Hong Kong-based global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management, which manages about $1.5 trillion, told Bloomberg TV. “They are still in wait-and- see mode. The effects of quite a lot of the mini-stimulus have worn off.”
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 1.4 percent. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland firms list in the city and China’s Shanghai Composite Index sank 1.7 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slumped 1.3 percent and Japan’s Topix index slipped 0.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index declined 0.7 percent and Singapore’s Straits Times Index lost 0.3 percent.
New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index increased 1.1 percent, driven higher by power-company stocks, after John Key won a third term as prime minister. Key, a former head of foreign exchange at Merrill Lynch & Co., led his National party to a 48 percent victory in New Zealand’s weekend election, securing the first single-party majority in the South Pacific nation’s parliament since at least 1996. The main opposition Labour Party, which wanted to introduce a tax on capital gains and raise the minimum wage, suffered its worst defeat since 1922.
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