Mitsui Chemicals Inc. lost 4.8 percent in Tokyo, leading materials producers lower. NTT Data Corp., a Japanese network-services company, slumped 7.5 percent, pacing a retreat in technology firms. Tokyo Electron Ltd. surged 14 percent after Applied Materials Inc., the largest chipmaking-equipment supplier, agreed to buy the company for $9.39 billion in stock.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.2 percent to 140.20 as of 10:24 a.m. in Hong Kong, with six of the 10 industry groups on the gauge declining. The measure dropped 0.6 percent yesterday. It climbed 7.9 percent in September through yesterday, on course for the best month since January 2012, after the Federal Reserve maintained the pace of its stimulus and data showed China’s economic growth is stabilizing.
“U.S. consumer confidence was down, albeit slightly, but enough to rattle already frayed nerves,” Andrew May, a sales trader at CMC Markets in Auckland, said in an e-mail. “As we’re in the last week and month of the quarter, expect to see traders continue to take a little more profit off the table as they reposition themselves.”
Japan’s Topix (TPX) index and South Korea’s Kospi index both lost 0.6 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.8 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex Index retreated 0.4 percent and Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 0.4 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.3 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite climbed 0.2 percent.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed after the gauge fell 0.3 percent yesterday amid concerns over U.S. budget talks and economic growth as investors weighed prospects for easing tensions in the Middle East. The index has declined 1.6 percent over four days after reaching an all-time high of 1,725.52 as the Fed refrained from cutting stimulus.
The Conference Board’s index of U.S. consumer confidence slumped in September to a four-month low and a separate report showed a gauge of manufacturing in the region covered by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond shrank in September.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index yesterday traded at 13.7 times estimated earnings, compared with 15.4 for the S&P 500 and 14.3 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
A merger of Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron would be the largest deal for a Japanese company from outside the country in six years. Tokyo Electron soared 14 percent to 5,520 yen. Its shareholders will get 3.25 shares for each share held in the Tokyo-based company, and Tokyo Electron Chief Executive Officer Tetsuro Higashi will become chairman of the new entity.
Japan’s Topix climbed 41 percent this year through yesterday, the most among 24 developed markets tracked by Bloomberg, amid optimism Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Bank of Japan can lead the country out of deflation through unprecedented monetary easing.
Industrial and technology firms posted the largest declines on the Asia-Pacific benchmark today. Mitsui Chemicals lost 4.8 percent to 277 yen and NTT Data slumped 7.5 percent to 338,500 yen in Tokyo.
David Jones Ltd. (DJS), Australia’s second-largest department store chain, climbed 6.1 percent to A$3.025 in Sydney as profit topped analyst estimates.
SJM Holdings Ltd. (880), Asia’s biggest casino operator, climbed 2.4 percent to HK$21.20 in Hong Kong after Deutsche Bank AG predicted record casino revenue in Macau next month.