Oct 26, 2012
Asian Markets at Close Report | MarketWatch -October 26, 2012-: Asia stocks stumble on earnings misses
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Asia stocks on Friday took deep losses that worsened the weekly performance for many benchmarks, as weaker-than-expected results from Apple Inc., as well as regional firms such as China Unicom and Canon Inc. sparked a sell-off.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index CN:000001 -1.68% and South Korea’s Kospi KR:SEU -1.72% each skidded 1.7%, Taiwan’s Taiex XX:Y9999 -1.76% lost 1.8%, Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average JP:100000018 -1.35% fell 1.4% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index AU:XJO -0.84% retreated 0.8%.
The day’s steep losses came in the wake of a strong recent performance for some regional markets. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HK:HSI -1.21% , in particular, fell 1.1% after gaining in the previous 10 sessions.
Ben Kwong, chief operating officer at KGI Asia, said “investors are shifting the focus to earnings, and the upward trend is losing momentum.”
Kwong said the Hong Kong market in particular was technically overbought after a string of advances, and that profit-taking pressure emerged alongside some weak corporate news. He termed the selling “healthy and expected.”
Taiwan’s Taiex was the biggest decliner of the week, shedding 3.7%. Those losses were followed by a 2.9% drop for the Shanghai Composite, a 2.7% decline for the Kospi, and a 2.2% fall for the S&P/ASX 200. Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.8%, while the Hang Seng Index ended the week fractionally lower.
Friday’s trading in Asia began on a subdued note for most regional markets, Apple’s AAPL -1.18% earnings fell short of estimates, weighing on its shares in U.S. after-hours trading. A report from U.S. e-retailer Amazon.com Inc. AMZN -2.44% AMZN -2.44% was also similarly disappointing. Read: Apple faces tight supply in busy quarter.
A poor set of earnings reports, or outlook, issued by Asian firms added to the selling pressure.
Shares of China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd. HK:762 -7.56% CHU -2.72% tumbled 7.6% as a 27% jump in its third-quarter profit fell short of estimates, leading to a downgrade from Standard Chartered.
Shares of its parent Bank of China Ltd. HK:3988 -0.32% BACHY +2.40% CN:601988 -1.09% , meanwhile, were swept away in weak broad markets although the lender posted better-than-expected results. The stock slipped 0.3% in Hong Kong and 1.1% in Shanghai. Read: Bank of China Q3 net profit up 17%.
Maanshan Iron & Steel Company Ltd. HK:323 -6.86% MAANY 0.00% CN:600808 -4.37% tumbled 6.9% in Hong Kong and 4.4% in Shanghai after reporting a net loss in the three months ended September, as steel prices dropped in July and August.
In Tokyo, Canon Inc. JP:7751 -3.21% CAJ -2.38% fell 3.2% after reporting weak results and lowering its full-year outlook.
Robotics firm Fanuc Corp. JP:6954 -3.08% FANUF -0.61% gave up 3.1% after posting a drop in profit and revenue for the fiscal first half.
The Japanese heavy-manufacturing sector also took an earnings hit following the report, with Hitachi Ltd. JP:6501 -2.84% HTHIF -0.86% losing 2.8% and Fuji Electric Co. JP:6504 -7.47% shedding 7.5%.
Shares of heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co. KR:005930 -2.65% SSNLF +3.31% dropped 2.7% in Seoul despite a record quarterly profit, as concerns mounted that its earnings may have peaked. Read: Samsung posts profit jump but cautious outlook.
Shares of Kia Motors Corp. KR:000270 -5.61% KIMTF -1.81% declined 5.6% after its third-quarter net profit rose 28% from the year-ago period, but fell 24% from the preceding quarter. Read: Kia Motors net profit jumps 28%
Shares of Macquarie Group Ltd. AU:MQG +3.49% MQBKY -0.20% jumped 3.5% as the Australian investment-banking firm’s 18% increase in half-year net profit missed estimates. Read: Macquarie profit misses estimates.
Bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. HK:388 -1.95% HKXCY +0.48% skidded 2% on a weak outlook for its third quarter results.
But not all earnings-related news led to stock losses.
In Tokyo, Advantest Corp. JP:6857 +3.57% SHCAF +1.50% jumped 3.6% after swinging to a profit in the first-half of the year from losses a year earlier.
And in Taipei, shares of Apple’s component supplier, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. TW:2330 +2.95% TSM +1.52% , climbed 3%. The advance came as Barclays upgraded the stock to overweight from equal weight, saying short-term cyclical concerns were already priced in and that the company will maintain its global leadership in metal castings on expected orders from Apple in the first quarter of 2014. Read: Apple puts squeeze on Taiwan’s TSMC.
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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