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Market Update

Asian Stocks Push Lower Amid Fed Worries

Asian stocks extended losses Thursday as disappointing data in the U.S. added to the already fragile sentiment.

Among regional indexes, Hong Kong's Hang Seng led the losses, down 1.1% while the Shanghai Composite lost 0.8%.

Australia's S&P/ASX All Ordinaries was down 0.7% and Mumbai's Sensex was trading 0.6% lower at 9:27 a.m. Indian Standard Time.

Japan's Nikkei was at the flat-line amid a choppy session, after posting a loss of 3.8% in the previous session.

On Wednesday, ADP private sector employment report showed that private U.S. employers added a lower-than-expected 135,000 new jobs in May.

Meanwhile, the Beige Book revealed that the U.S. economy continued to grow at a modest pace on the back of a resurgent housing industry and steady gains in manufacturing.

Despite the positive news, investors were worried that improving economic conditions could mean an earlier-than-anticipated exit of the Federal Reserve's current asset-purchase program.

Stocks on the move

Japanese exporters were hard hit amid Fed stimulus worries. Blue-chip exporters Sharp Corp. and Sony Corp. fell around 3% and 2% respectively, while car manufacturer Mazda Motor skidded 2.7%.

Power utilities and shipping companies were among others that underwent sharp selling pressure. Tokyo Electric Power plunged over 7%  while Kyushu Electric Power lost around 4%.

Shipping company Kawasaki Kishen K.K. dropped more than 4% and Nippon Yusen K.K. lost 3.5%.

However, a handful of stocks managed to buck the trend as bargain-hunters made selective picks.

Tokyo Electron Ltd. bounced over 6%, Trend Micro Inc. gained 3.2%, brokerage house Daiwa Securities climbed 2% while Mitsuibishi Materials enhanced 1.9%.

Some realty firms and drug makers also gained ground as investors sought defensives.  Mitsui Fudosan Co. Ltd. rose 1.3% while Takeda Pharmaceuticals gained 1.3%.

Hong Kong-listed property developers, however, pushed lower amid lingering worries about the country's economic growth. China Resources Land declined 2.7% while New World Development Corp. lost around 2%.

On the mainland, Gemdale Corp. tumbled 4.6% in Shanghai while China Vanke erased 2.6% in Shenzhen.

Resources and financials added to the losses. Angang Steel  dropped 1.2% while Aluminum Corp. of China fell 2.7%.

Index leader and global banking giant HSBC Holdings erased 1.3% while Hang Seng Bank slid 2.2%.

Trading in Mumbai started on a low key as investors took cues from overseas markets.

Leading the losers in early trades, Bharti Airtel erased over 2%, Hindalco Industries fell 1.7%, Sun Pharma pulled back 1.4% while Hero MotoCorp. gave up 1.3%.

Banks, power utilities and metal firms were also on the downside with modest losses.

On the upside, Cipla added 0.7% after extending its partnership with Swedish firm Meda AB.

In Australia, meanwhile, most banks extended their losses after lacklustre GDP data yesterday. ANZ lost 1.2% and Westpac Banking eased 0.4%. Commonwealth Bank slipped 0.2%.

Among miners, BHP Billiton was little-changed while Rio Tinto fell 0.7%. Diversified miner Fortescue Metals Group fell 3.4% while gold miner Newcrest Mining tumbled 6.3%, extending its slide on heels of weak global gold spot prices.

On the earnings front, Fairfax Media Ltd. retreated 2.1% after forecasting a sharp decline in full-year operating earnings.