Asian stocks dropped, dragging down the benchmark gauge from a four-month high, as Japanese exporters retreated amid a three-day gain in the yen. Copper fell, while precious metals rebounded.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.8 percent at 1:33 p.m. in Tokyo, heading for its biggest decline in four weeks. Japan’s Topix dropped 0.7 percent and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures slipped 0.2 percent. The yen has gained against 15 of 16 major peers since last week, while Indonesia’s rupiah fell to the weakest level since 2009 against the dollar. Copper sank for a third day as gold and silver rose.
Canon Inc. and Toyota Motor Corp. paced declines in Japanese shares, paring a fourth-straight quarterly advance in the Topix. The U.S. Senate is considering a measure passed by the House on Sept. 20 that would cut off money for President Barack Obama’s health-care law while financing the federal government through mid-December. Data today may show U.S. home prices climbed in July, while Germany’s Ifo business climate index probably rose for a fifth month in September.
“The increasingly ugly debate on the U.S. fiscal position is certainly a primary concern for markets,” said Angus Gluskie, the chief investment officer at White Funds Management Ltd. in Sydney, where he helps oversee about $500 million.
More than three stocks fell for each that rose on MSCI’s Asia index, with financial and industrial companies leading losses. Canon, a camera maker that gets 79 percent of sales overseas, dropped 2.2 percent while Toyota, Japan’s biggest automaker, declined 0.6 percent. The MSCI measure has gained 7.3 percent since June, heading for its best quarter since the three months to March 2012.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.5 percent in a third day of declines. South Korea’s Kospi Index fell 0.6 percent. The Hang Seng Index and the Shanghai Composite Index both slid 1 percent.
The yen gained 0.1 percent to 98.78 per dollar, following a 0.5 percent increase yesterday when Japanese exchanges were closed for a holiday. Australia’s currency lost 0.2 percent, paring its gain this quarter to 2.9 percent. The New Zealand dollar retreated 0.6 percent to 83.20 U.S. cents. It has surged 7.5 percent since the end of June, the most among major currencies.
The rupiah weakened 1.2 percent, while Malaysia’s ringgit retreated 0.2 percent and India’s rupee depreciated 0.4 percent.
Fed members have been commenting on last week’s decision to maintain the central bank’s $85 billion of monthly bond buying.
New York Fed President William C. Dudley said yesterday the U.S. economy “still needs the support of a very accommodative monetary policy,” while his Atlanta counterpart Dennis Lockhart said policy should focus on creating a more dynamic economy after a recent cooling in growth. Fed Bank of Cleveland President Sandra Pianalto speaks today.
Twenty-four of 41 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News on Sept. 18-19 said the Fed will wait until December before taking the first step in slowing its bond-buying.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted last week to finance the federal government through mid-December and choke off funding for Obama’s signature health-care law, setting up a showdown with the Senate and the White House.
Government funding expires Oct. 1 and the Treasury is expected to exhaust its ability to borrow funds in mid-October, when it will reach the statutory debt limit. The White House said Obama would veto the House bill and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the bill is “dead on arrival.”
The S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 cities probably rose 12.4 percent in July from a year earlier, according to the median estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg. That would be the biggest gain since February 2006.
The Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence in the world’s biggest economy probably fell to 80 this month from 81.5 in August, according to another survey of economists. The Richmond Fed’s manufacturing index is projected to slip to 12 from 14.
The German Ifo index, which polls executives in Europe’s largest economy, probably increased to 108 this month after reaching a 16-month high of 107.5 in August, according to a Bloomberg survey.
Gold rose 0.3 percent to $1,326.26 an ounce, while silver climbed 0.9 percent. Platinum increased for the first time in four days, adding 0.5 percent.
Copper for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange slipped 0.3 percent, cutting its gain this quarter to 7 percent. Zinc fell 0.6 percent and rubber futures due in February lost 2.2 percent.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil slipped 0.1 percent to $103.48 a barrel. Crude has climbed 7.2 percent in New York in the third quarter. Natural gas futures lost 0.4 percent today.
The United Nations Security Council is working toward a resolution over Syria based on the Geneva accord between the U.S. and Russia. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said Sept. 20 it received an initial disclosure from Syria. Nigeria restored flows from three trunk pipelines that were sabotaged by vandalism and theft.