Asian stocks fell, with the benchmark regional index on course for its first loss in three days, as the yen’s gain weighed on Japanese exporters and U.S. jobs data missed estimates.
Mazda Motor Corp., an automaker that gets 30 percent of its sales in North America, dropped 3.4 percent in Tokyo. Fonterra Shareholders Fund tumbled 4.2 percent in Wellington after China halted imports of milk powder from Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd. on company warnings of a contaminated ingredient. Tianneng Power International Ltd., a maker of storage batteries, tumbled as much as 19 percent before it was was suspended from trading in Hong Kong.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.5 percent to 134.94 as of 12:31 p.m. Tokyo time with almost five stocks dropping for every three that rose.
“Japan is still very choppy for me, to be honest,” Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG Markets Ltd. in Melbourne, said by telephone. The U.S. payrolls figures “weren’t significantly weak enough to say we’re definitively putting tapering off the table, but didn’t certainly suggest there’s rampant recovery going on in the jobs market. There’s a recovery, but it’s not enough to suspend the bond-buying program.”
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 1.3 percent last month after China pledged to do more to support a transition from reliance on exports to domestic demand in the world’s second-largest economy. Shares on the gauge traded at 13.2 times estimated earnings as of Aug. 2, compared with 15.5 times for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 13.8 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
Japan’s Topix index lost 0.8 percent after the yen gained 0.6 percent on Aug. 2. A stronger yen cuts the value of overseas earnings at Japanese companies. The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index slid 0.2 percent.
South Korea’s Kospi Index lost 0.3 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index was little changed, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.3 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex Index rose 0.3 percent and Singapore’s Straits Times Index slid 0.6 percent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.1 percent. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies listed in Hong Kong gained 0.2 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.1 percent.
An index of China’s non-manufacturing sectors rose for the first time since March, a report Aug. 3 showed. HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics’ China services gauge was unchanged at 51.3 in July from June, data showed today.
The People’s Bank of China will appropriately fine-tune policies and strike a balance between stable growth, structural adjustment, reform and risk prevention, according to a statement after a meeting of chiefs of central bank branches posted on the PBOC’s website Aug. 4.
Futures on the S&P 500 index slipped 0.1 percent today after the measure advanced 1.1 percent last week, its biggest gain in three weeks, as central banks vowed to maintain stimulus and data showed economic growth beat projections in the second quarter.
U.S. employers added 162,000 workers to payrolls in July, the least in four months and below a median economist estimate of 185,000, data Aug. 2 showed.
Of the 287 companies on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index that have posted results since July 1 and for which estimates are available, 50.2 percent exceeded estimates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.