Asian markets traded lower all throughout a choppy trading day as investors speculate on weaker U.S. home sales data due later today. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect home sales to fall to 4.65 million from 5.37 million in June. (See RGE Critical Issue: U.S. Housing Demand Languishes Following Tax Credit Expiration)
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.8% to 117 led by 225 the Nikkei.The MSCI ASIA APEX 50 lost 1.1% to 738.
In Japan, stocks declined on growth concerns. The Nikkei 225 lost 1.3 % to 8,995. Exporters declined as the yen strengthened. Sony dropped 3.7% while Canon declined 0.9%.
In Hong Kong, stocks fell after Aluminum Corp of China reported disappointing earnings raising concerns over the global recovery. The Hang Seng Composite fell 1.1% to 20,659. HSBC fell 1.6%.
In mainland China, stocks rose slightly as investors speculate on easier government curbs on lending amid a slowing economy. Developers and steelmakers led the gains. The Shanghai SE Composite rose 0.4% to 2,650. Poly Real Estate rose 2.3% while Vanke advanced 4.2%.
In India, stocks declined on weaker metals prices amid speculation U.S. home sales data will disappoint. The BSE SENSEX 30 lost 0.5% to 18,312 led by Sterlite industries.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1.1% to 4,381 while in Korea; the KRX 100 lost 0.4% to 3,698. BHP fell 1.5% while Rio Tinto declined 1.6%.
On currencies, the yen rose 1.61% to 83.96 while the Aussie dollar fell 1.52% to 1.134. The New Zealand kiwi declined 0.97% while the rupee lost 0.57%.
10-year JGBs advanced with the yield down 1.7 bps to 0.929%. Sovereign cash yields elsewhere in the region also fell except in New Zealand. Sovereign CDS spreads narrowed in Japan (down 3.3bps) and Hong Kong (down 0.6 bps) while widening in the rest of the region. Corporate spreads widened with the Markit iTraxx Asia ex-Japan 50 IG up 1 bp to 133 bps while the iTraxx Japan index rose 0.3 bps to 114 bps.
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