An earlier version of this story misstated the nature of the holiday in the U.S.
HONG KONG (MarketWatch)—Asian markets fell Monday as resource-sector shares dropped on doubts about the duration of monetary easing after Friday’s upbeat U.S. jobs report, with concern about China’s economic growth also weighing on sentiment.
The Shanghai Composite Index CN:000001 -0.56% fell 0.6% after a volatile start to the day as mainland stock markets reopened after the Golden Week holidays.
Snapping a five-trading-day winning-streak, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HK:HSI -0.89% fell 0.9%, South Korea’s Kospi KR:SEU -0.67% dropped 0.7%, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index AU:XJO -0.28% slipped 0.3% and Taiwan’s Taiex XX:Y9999 -0.97% retreated 1%.
Japanese bourses were closed for a holiday.
“Creating a sustainable recovery in the jobs market is one of the core principles of the [U.S. Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing] program, and this positive data could mean QE won’t go on for as long as some hoped,” said Stan Shamu, a market strategist at IG Markets.
The performance in Asia followed a mixed finish on Wall Street Friday, after monthly payrolls data showed the U.S. jobless rate unexpectedly dropped to 7.8%, its lowest level since January 2009.
Earlier Monday, the World Bank also lowered its forecasts for economic expansion in developing East Asia, cutting its 2012 growth projection to 7.2% from an earlier estimate of 7.6%. It also cut China’s growth forecast to 7.7% in 2012 and 8.1% in 2013. Read full story on the World Bank’s revised projections.
Investors also looked ahead to the Eurogroup meeting of the euro-zone finance ministers, amid uncertainty over when Spain will formally request a bailout, and some speculation that banks in Cyprus may need financial assistance.
Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA +0.26% and S&P 500 index SPX -0.03% futures were trading lower late afternoon in Hong Kong, with focus on the upcoming quarterly earnings season. Metals giant Alcoa Inc. AA +0.22% unofficially kicks off the third-quarter earnings season on Tuesday. Read: Stocks lose grip on jobs gains, rise for week.
Gold and other metals settled lower in New York on Friday after the U.S. jobs data dented expectations of more monetary easing measures. Read more on metals.
Several metal-related stocks dropped in Asia on Monday, with gold mining giant Newcrest Mining Ltd. AU:NCM -3.16% NCMGF +0.03% losing 3.2% and its smaller rival Perseus Mining Ltd. AU:PRU -2.35% declining 2.4% in Sydney. In Seoul, steel giant Posco PKX -0.58% KR:005490 -0.54% fell 1.9%, while Hyundai Steel Co. KR:004020 -0.23% dropped 2.1%.
In Shanghai, shares of Zhongjin Gold Corp. CN:600489 -2.91% skidded 2.9%, Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., or Chalco CN:601600 -1.00% ACH +2.04% , gave up 1% and Jiangxi Copper Co. JIXAY +1.48% CN:600362 -2.26% lost 2.3%.
In Hong Kong trading, Zijin Mining Group Co. ZIJMF -1.25% HK:2899 -4.63% stumbled 4.6%, while Chalco HK:2600 -0.61% and Jiangxi HK:358 -1.40% dropped 0.6% and 1.4%, respectively.
The drop in Hong Kong came as UBS strategists downgraded their view on the local market to underweight from neutral, saying that some of the drivers for recent outperformance may fade, including the “relative earnings picture” and valuations relative to mainland Chinese equities.
Energy sector shares were also weaker as Nymex crude-oil prices dropped further below $90-a-barrel in electronic trading.
In Hong Kong, Cnooc Ltd. CEO -1.13% HK:883 -1.41% and PetroChina Co. PTR +0.42% HK:857 -1.88% CN:601857 -0.68% shed 1.4% and 1.9%, respectively, with the latter also losing 0.7% in Shanghai, while Woodside Petroleum Ltd. AU:WPL -0.48% WOPEY -2.62% gave up 0.5% in Sydney.
Among other notable movers, Bank of Queensland Ltd. AU:BOQ -4.11% extended losses made late last week when the firm warned that it may report a fiscal-year loss, with another 4.1% decline on Monday.
Sarah Turner is MarketWatch's bureau chief in Sydney. Varahabhotla Phani Kumar is a reporter in MarketWatch's Hong Kong bureau.
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