Asia Stocks Slip With U.S. Futures; Aussie Drops on Jobs


Asian stocks fell and copper rose before U.S. economic reports and the European Central Bank’s policy meeting. Australia’s dollar weakened against all its major peers after disappointing jobs data.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (TPX) slid 0.5 percent as of 1:56 p.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Topix declined 0.4 percent and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures dropped 0.1 percent. The Aussie depreciated 0.5 percent versus the dollar. Copper and zinc climbed 0.3 percent.

U.S. growth data today and payrolls figures tomorrow may help investors gauge the outlook for Federal Reserve policy after two papers from central bank officials said the level of slack in the world’s biggest economy justifies an accommodative stance. The ECB is projected to keep its main interest rate on hold. Australian employers cut full-time workers in October by the most in more than a year, as traders increased bets the central bank will keep interest rates at a record low.

“It is hard to see where the global economy can surprise significantly on the upside to provide a further leg up for major indices,” Matthew Sherwood, head of investment markets research in Sydney at Perpetual Investments, which manages about $25 billion, said by e-mail. “The markets have bid prices up and are likely to side-trend for a period.”

About two stocks dropped for every one that gained on MSCI’s Asian measure, with materials producers and financial shares leading losses. Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) retreated 1.1 percent after the company raised its full-year net income target by less than analysts expected. Ausdrill Ltd. (ASL) tumbled the most on record in Sydney after the provider of specialist drilling services forecast a lower profit than estimated.

Rate Swaps

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HSI) fell 0.6 percent as Fosun International Ltd. slumped 7 percent after announcing a convertible bond sale. The Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.3 percent.

China’s interest-rate swaps climbed to the highest level since June as the central bank refrained from using money-market operations to add funds to the financial system.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.4 percent and the nation’s currency weakened to 94.79 U.S. cents. The number of full-time jobs declined by 27,900, the statistics bureau said in Sydney today, the most since June 2012. Traders unwound bets that the Reserve Bank of Australia’s next interest rate move will be an increase.

Malaysia’s ringgit was little changed at 3.1797 per dollar. The country’s central bank will keep its overnight policy rate at 3 percent at a meeting today, a Bloomberg survey shows.

ECB Meeting

The euro was little changed at $1.3514 after rallying 0.3 percent yesterday and the British pound held three days of gains, trading steady at $1.6071. The ECB will leave its benchmark rate at 0.5 percent today, according to all but three of 70 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The Bank of England is projected to do the same, a separate survey showed.

The U.S. economy probably grew at a 2 percent annualized rate in the third quarter, compared with a 2.5 percent increase in the previous three months, according to a Bloomberg survey before today’s report. Economists predict data tomorrow will show payrolls climbed by 120,000 in October and the unemployment rate increased to 7.3 percent from 7.2 percent in the previous month, according to a separate survey.

William English, head of the Fed’s Division of Monetary Affairs, wrote that the strategy of not raising interest rates when unemployment is above 6.5 percent has provided effective stimulus, and that an even lower threshold could be helpful. A paper by David Wilcox, the research and statistics chief, says that slack in the economy argues for loose policy at a time of contained expectations for inflation.

Twitter IPO

Twitter Inc. (TWTR) raised $1.82 billion in its initial public offering, the largest IPO by a technology company since Facebook Inc.’s debut in May 2012. The short-messaging website sold 70 million shares at $26 each, after offering them for $23 to $25, Twitter said in a message on its service.

Copper for delivery in three months rose to $7,139 a metric ton. Aluminum and nickel also advanced. West Texas Intermediate oil gained 0.1 percent to $94.85 a barrel after surging the most in five weeks yesterday.



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