Most Asian stocks fall

Most Asian stocks fell, led by Japanese exporters, on concern a strengthening yen will hurt the value of overseas sales. Mining stocks gained after Alcoa Inc. reported a smaller-than-estimated loss.

Honda Motor Co., which makes 51 percent of its revenue in North America, dropped 2.3 percent as the yen rose to a four- month high against the dollar. Alumina Ltd., Alcoa’s joint- venture partner, gained 1.8 percent in Sydney. AU Optronics Corp., Taiwan’s biggest liquid-crystal display maker, climbed 4.7 percent after saying it expects sales to rise.

Five stocks declined for every four that rose on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, which lost 0.1 percent to 100.47 as of 12:34 a.m. in Tokyo. The gauge retreated 2.6 percent in the past six days, the longest losing streak since September.

“Markets need to come off some more before people start buying,” said John Koh, who helps manage $1.1 billion at MEAG Hong Kong Ltd. “There is no real reason to come back in. Investors are waiting for earnings to show a recovery is on track.”

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.8 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost 0.3 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex Index climbed 1.8 percent, the region’s biggest gain.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.5 percent. The gauge fell 0.2 percent, led by telecommunications companies after a brokerage cut their profit estimates.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed as much as 49 percent from a more than five-year low on March 9 on optimism government stimulus measures will revive global growth. Group of Eight leaders said yesterday the economic recovery from the steepest recession since World War II was too fragile for them to consider reversing efforts to pump money into the economy.

Yen Strength

Japanese exporters declined as the yen rose to as high as 91.80 against the dollar, a level not seen since February, amid concern U.S. earnings will show weakness. The currency most recently changed hands at 92.98 per dollar, compared with 94.24 at the close of equity trading yesterday.

Honda dropped 2.3 percent to 2,335 yen. Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest automaker, fell 1.7 percent to 3,410 yen. Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., Japan’s No. 3 automaker, slid 1.6 percent to 539 yen.

“The market is becoming cautious with regards to the outlook for earnings and the economy,” said Fujio Ando, a fund manager at Tokyo-based Chibagin Asset Management Co “If this level of the yen continues, we could see some exporters be forced to cut their profit outlooks.”

Sony lost 0.9 percent to 2,295 yen as Chief Executive Officer Howard Stringer rejected calls to cut prices of the PlayStation 3.

U.S. Earnings

Alumina gained 1.8 percent to A$1.385. Alcoa, which kicked off second-quarter earnings announcements in the U.S. yesterday, jumped 4 percent in late trading after reporting a narrower loss than analysts had expected. as production cuts and workforce reductions helped the company save money.

Analysts estimate profits fell an average 34 percent at S&P 500 companies in the second quarter and will decrease 21 percent from July through September after plunging about 60 percent in the year’s first three months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In Taipei, AU Optronics climbed 4.7 percent to NT$35.90, while Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp., Taiwan’s second-biggest liquid-crystal display maker, rose 3.3 percent to NT$18.75. The companies said they expect third-quarter sales to rise from the previous three-month period on a global glass shortage.

“We had a significant sales climb each month in the second quarter, and in the third quarter sales will stay high,” Ho Jau- yang, vice chairman of Chi Mei, told reporters at an industry forum in Taipei yesterday. The market is recovering after hitting the bottom in the first quarter, Chen Lai-juh, AU’s chief executive officer, said at the event.

Source: Bloomberg

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