Asian Markets at Close Report; march 26, 2013.: Asia stocks weaken as Cyprus optimism fades; by V. Phani Kumar and Sarah Turner, MarketWatch

By V. Phani Kumar and Sarah Turner, MarketWatch 

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) Most Asian markets declined Tuesday as investors fretted about the implications of the Cyprus bailout agreement for other euro-zone countries, with commodity and financial stocks leading the retreat. 

The broad losses came in the wake of downbeat cues from the European and U.S. stock markets on Monday, amid concerns that deposit holders in ailing European economies other than Cyprus may also be at risk in the future. Here’s the gloss on those Dutch minister’s Cyprus comments.
“The relief rally that followed the 10 billion euros ($13 billion) Cyprus deal made way for growing concerns that this approach may become the ‘new norm’ for any future bailout of troubled banks,” said Matthew Sherwood, head of investment research at Perpetual Investments.

“More importantly, this demonstrates that government funds for bank bailouts are near exhaustion and that the rules can be re-written at any time by any authority,” Sherwood added. 

The Shanghai Composite Index CN:000001 -1.25%  fell 1.3% to 2,297.67, leading the region’s losses. 

Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average JP:NIK -0.60%  declined 0.6% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index AU:XJO -0.80%  shed 0.8%. 

On the upside, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HK:HSI +0.27%  finished 0.3% higher after a choppy trading session, while South Korea’s Kospi KR:SEU +0.30%  edged up 0.3%. 

Shares of several resource-sector companies dropped sharply around the region. 

Rio Tinto Ltd. AU:RIO -2.27% RIO -1.62%  fell 2.3% and Paladin Energy Ltd. AU:PDN -2.48% shed 2.5% in Sydney; Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. JP:5401 -2.05%   NISTF -8.40%  dropped 2.1% and JFE Holdings Inc. JP:5411 -2.67%   JFEEF -16.04%  declined 2.7% in Tokyo; and Hyundai Steel Co. KR:004020 -0.86%  lost 0.9% in Seoul. 

In Shanghai, Baoshan Iron & Steel Co. CN:600019 -2.05%   declined 2.1%, Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. CN:600188 -5.19%   YZC -1.06% shed 5.2% and China Coal Energy Co. CCOZY +0.90% HK:1898 +0.14%  dropped 0.5%. 

In Hong Kong trading, shares of Yanzhou HK:1171 -0.92%  fell 0.9% and China Shenhua Energy Co. CSUAY -1.42%   HK:1088 -1.22% dropped 1.2%, while Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. ACH -1.95% HK:2600 -1.58%  gave up 1.6%. 

Banks also suffered losses, with China Minsheng Banking Corp. CN:600016 -4.55%   CMAKY -0.30%  losing 4.6% and China Construction Bank Corp. CN:601939 -2.30%   CICHY +0.57%  falling 2.3% in Shanghai. 

In Hong Kong, shares of heavyweight HSBC Holdings PLC HBC -1.18%   HK:5 -0.54% , which has a major presence in Europe, dropped 0.5%. 

Property shares outperformed the broader market in Shanghai, recouping some of the sharp losses suffered so far this month. Gemdale Corp. CN:600383 +0.30%  added 0.3%, while Poly Real Estate Group Co. CN:600048 0.00%  ended unchanged. 

The gains came despite worries that policy makers might take further measures to curb property prices. Hu Cunzhi, China’s vice minister of land and resources reportedly said over the weekend that the government should crack down on speculators by imposing home ownership tax on those with three or more properties across the nation.

Relief rally for Cyprus soon fizzles
A bailout deal for Cyprus to avoid bankruptcy gave the markets little boost, Katie Martin reports.

Strategists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said a nationwide rollout of property tax could only start some time during 2016-2017, but would be a “major long-term negative to the property market.” 

On the upside in Hong Kong, shares of Henderson Land Development Co. HK:12 +5.50%   HLDCY +1.43%  climbed 5.5% after it announced a 28% increase in 2012 profit and a bonus share issue. 

In Japan, exporters were broadly lower following weak global cues, with Sony Corp. SNE +0.51%   JP:6758 -2.69%  down 2.7% and Honda Motor Corp. HMC -1.28%   JP:7267 -0.95%  off 1%. 

Still, some exporters came off their early lows in Japanese trade as the yen weakened after new central bank Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda renewed his pledge to do “whatever it takes” to beat deflation and reach a 2% inflation target. Read full story on Kuroda’s remarks.
Shares of Olympus Corp. JP:7733 +0.04%   OCPNY +0.30%  ended fractionally higher, and NEC Corp. JP:6701 +4.12% NIPNF 0.00% advanced 4.1%. 

Korean exporters advanced amid losses in Japan, meanwhile, with car maker Hyundai Motor Co. KR:005380 +2.32% HYMTF +1.47% rising 2.3% and consumer electronics giant Samsung Electronics Co. KR:005930 +0.94% SSNLF 0.00%  adding 0.9%. 

Varahabhotla Phani Kumar is a reporter in MarketWatch's Hong Kong bureau. Follow him on Twitter @MktwKumar. Sarah Turner is MarketWatch's bureau chief in Sydney. Follow her on Twitter @SarahTurnerMKTW.


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