Most Asian stocks fell, sending the MSCI Asia Pacific Index to its longest losing streak since December 2007, as a stronger yen threatened the value of Japanese exports and Australian unemployment rose.
Honda Motor Co, which makes 51 per cent of its revenue in North America, dropped 2.7 per cent as the yen rose to a four-month high against the dollar. Wesfarmers Ltd, Australia’s second-largest retailer, sank 3.4 per cent as the statistics bureau said the jobless rate climbed to the highest in almost six years. Hang Lung Properties Ltd, which has investments in China, fell 3 per cent in Hong Kong on speculation the Chinese central bank will curb lending, damping demand for real estate.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.1 per cent to 100.44 as of 6.12 pm in Tokyo, taking its decline in the past seven days to 2.7 per cent. Five stocks declined for every four that advanced. The gauge had climbed as much as 49 per cent from a more than five-year low on March 9 on optimism government stimulus measures will revive global growth.
“Markets need to come off some more before people start buying,” said John Koh, who helps manage $1.1 billion at MEAG Hong Kong Ltd. “There is no real reason to come back in. Investors are waiting for earnings to show a recovery is on track.” Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average declined 1.4 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.4 per cent, erasing losses of as much as 1.2 per cent. Taiwan’s Taiex Index climbed 1.2 per cent. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co added 1.7 per cent after Bank of America Corp’s Merrill Lynch unit recommended investors buy the stock.