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Market Update

Asian Markets Drop; Data Deters

Asian markets dropped Friday after poor performance by U.S. stocks overnight and lacklustre Chinese services data pushed investors on the back foot.

Investors took cues from Wall Street where bourses closed lower Thursday following some domestic data points.

Back in Asia, official reports released in China showed growth in the country's services sector declined to a four-month low in December as business expectations dropped.

The official purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the services sector fell to 54.6 in December as compared with 56.0 in November.

The services data came on heels of manufacturing PMI data released yesterday, which showed growth in China's manufacturing activity slowed in December as exports declined.

Risk sentiment drooped and investors moved away from riskier assets like equities towards safer havens like yen, gold and bonds.

Among the regional indexes, mainland China's Shanghai Composite fell 1.4%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.8%, Mumbai's BSE Sensex retreated 1.8% while Sydney's All Ordinaries  eased 0.7%.

Japan's Nikkei remained closed.

Stocks on the Move

Resources stocks in Hong Kong extended losses from the previous session. Aluminum Corp. of China fell 2.3% while Jiangxi Copper and Angang Steel dropped over 1.5% each.

Among oil firms, CNOOC slumped nearly 3% while China Shenhua Energy plunged 4.4%.

Financials and property developers were other stocks that experienced heavy selling pressure -- the country's largest lender ICBC retreated 2.3% while global banking giant HSBC Holdings erased 1.8%.

Real estate firms Sino Land Co., China Overseas Land & Investment lost around 2.7% each.

On the mainland, Gemdale Corp. plunged 5.5% while China Vanke Ltd. traded down 2.7%.

Miners in Australia were also trading lower. China being Australia's key trading partner, any change in the former's industrial activity affects the latter's mining industry.

Index leader BHP Billiton erased 1.2% while Rio Tinto slipped 0.5%. Gold miner Newcrest Mining, however, continued to log gains, up 2.2% tracking uptick in gold futures.

Among other rare gainers, Ten Network Holdings bounced over 5% in Sydney while some casino players also found support in Hong Kong after data showed 19% increase in gambling revenues in Macau in December 2013.

Wynn Macau and Galaxy Entertainment were both up a percent each, while Sands China edged up 0.3%. 

Mumbai players tracked their global counterparts lower with capital goods, power stocks and banking firms leading the declines.

Tata Power fell 4%, Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors reversed around 2.5% each, BHEL and Hindalco Industries gave up around 2% while ICICI Bank retreated 1.5%.

Bucking the trend, some IT services providers and auto manufacturers climbed. TCS added 2.1%, Infosys gained 1.5% while Hero MotoCorp and Maruti Suzuki accelerated 1.5% each.