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Asia: banks top the decliners

 Daria Bulanova, Analyst, Global Markets (Finam)

IndexCountryValueChangeChange, %YTD, %
S&P/ASX 200 Australia 4 966,50 -28,49 -0,57% 6,83%
All Ordinaries Australia 4 979,87 -27,18 -0,54% 6,76%
Ho Chi Minh Vietnam 490,67 -0,59 -0,12% 18,60%
Hang Seng Hong Kong 22 299,63 -165,19 -0,74% -1,58%
Hang Seng H-shares Hong Kong 14 875,99 -330,87 -2,18% 30,08%
BSE 30 (Sensex) India 18 859,99 165,43 0,88% -2,92%
Jakarta Composite Indonesia 4 940,98 12,88 0,26% 14,46%
Shanghai A-shares China 2 340,53 -68,17 -2,83% -1,49%
CSI 300 China 2 499,30 -84,23 -3,26% -0,94%
KLSE Composite Malaysia 1 674,04 6,47 0,39% -0,88%
NZSE 50 New Zealand 4 422,75 10,7 0,24% 8,76%
Karachi 100 Pakistan 17 964,71 37,25 0,22% 6,27%
Straits Times Singapore 3 308,10 -4,93 -0,15% 4,45%
Bangkok SET Thailand 1 014,98 -11,71 -1,07% 7,36%
TAIEX Taiwan 7 866,88 -27,24 -0,35% 2,17%
PSEi Philippines 6 847,47 182,35 2,74% 17,80%
Colombo All-Shares Sri Lanka 5 735,68 -9,31 -0,16% 1,64%
KOSPI South Korea 1 993,52 0,08 0,00% -0,18%
Nikkei 225 Japan 12 335,96 -157,83 -1,26% 18,67%
Topix Japan 1 036,78 -9,69 -0,93% 20,58%

On Thursday, March 28, Asian equities closed broadly in the red, with banking shares leading the decline. A day earlier, Chinese banking regulators launched new rules to improve bank transparency and modify bank management products.

The news flow out of Europe added to the negativity. The media wired that Pier Luigi Bersani failed to cobble together a coalition government, which threatens a runoff and persistent debt woes for the country. In addition, Cyprus turmoil remains a drag on the markets.

On the economic front, Japan’s retail sales dropped 2.3% in February vs. an anticipated contraction of 1.2%. Meanwhile, non-residents’ holdings in Japanese stocks shrank by JPY 267.6 bn last week, following a JPY 471.9 bn increase the previous week.

Recapping the benchmarks, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 inched down 0.57%, China’s CSI 300 sank 3.26%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng eased 0.74%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 slid 1.26%.

Chinese banks closed lower, with China Merchants Bank slumping 5% and 4.2%, respectively, in Hong Kong and Shanghai trading, while China Citic Bank nosedived 9.1% and 4.1%, respectively. UK lender HSBC Holdings lost 1% in Hong Kong trading.

Chinese aluminum producer Aluminum Corp. of China reported stronger-than-expected FY losses, which drove its shares 4.5% lower in Hong Kong trading.

Japanese banks landed in the red, with Mizuho Financial Group dipping 2.4%, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Shinsei Bank shed 1% and 2.3%, respectively.

In other news, Japan’s automaker Mitsubishi Motors tumbled 3.9% after reporting a number of malfunction incidents with batteries it makes together with GS Yuasa. Shares of the latter plummeted 11.1% on the news.