Asian Market Snapshot: Stocks Fall over Concerns of Upcoming U.S. Data

Asian markets opened and traded lower all throughout the day as investors speculate on weaker U.S. data due later this week.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was unchanged at 118 as losses in auto and electronics shares offset gains in utilities. The MSCI ASIA APEX 50 lost 0.3% to 746.

In Japan, stocks declined as investors anticipate weak U.S. data this week and on comments made by Finance Minister Yoshihiko Nado who said that he hasn’t heard of any scheduled meeting between Prime Minister Naoto Kan and BoJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa to discuss the rising yen. The Nikkei 225 lost 0.7 % to 9,117. Sharp declined 2.5% while Honda, with 84% overseas exposure, fell 0.5%.

In Hong Kong, stocks fell on weak oil prices. The utility was the only sector showing gains. The Hang Seng Composite fell 0.4% to 20,889. Cnooc and PetroChina fell more than 0.5% while Sinopec declined 1.6%.

In mainland China, stocks slightly rose as investors speculate on machinery stocks amid an increase in government investment in poorer regions. The Shanghai SE Composite lost 0.1% to 2,639.  Sany Heavy gained 3.7%.

In India, stocks advanced led by Mahindra & Mahindra, the country’s largest sport utility automaker, after it signed an agreement to acquire Ssangyong Motor.The BSE SENSEX 30 was little changed at 18,409.

In Australia, stocks were unchanged despite a hung parliament following the weekend election. (See RGE Critical Issue: Australian Election: Will the Labor Party Hold Onto Power?). The S&P/ASX 200 index was unchanged at 4,429 while in Korea the KRX 100 lost 0.5% to 3,713. BHP (up 0.7%) and Rio Tinto (up 1.1%) both advanced on optimism the mining tax will either be diluted or scraped.

On currencies, the yen rose 0.16% to 85.19 while the Aussie dollar pared back its earlier losses to close up 0.06%. The New Zealand kiwi strengthened 0.31% while the rupee and the rupiah were little changed.

10-year JGBs fell with the yield up 1.1 bps to 0.945%. Sovereign cash yields elsewhere in the region also rose. Sovereign CDS spreads widened across the region except in China and Australia.Corporate spreads also widened in Asia ex-Japan with the Markit iTraxx Asia ex-Japan 50 IG up 8.5 bps to 132 bps while spreads in Japan narrowed with the iTraxx Japan index down 0.8 bps to 114 bps.

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