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Asia: disappointment across the board

Anastasia Tretyakova, Junior analyst, Global Markets (Finam)

On Monday, April 9, key Asian equity benchmarks finished the session in negative territory for a fourth trading session in a row, dragged down by the unfavorable US labor market numbers published on Friday, April 6. In particular, the employment rate in the non-agricultural sector rose the least in March for the past five months, raising misgivings about the recovery of the world’s largest economy.

Regional economic data also brought disappointment. China’s CPI edged 0.2% higher m-o-m in March amid growing wages and rising fuel prices, while a flat indicator had been expected. Compared to the year-earlier period, the CPI grew 3.6%, against the projected growth of 3.3% y-o-y.

One more piece of negative news is North Korea’s preparation for an underground nuclear test, its third ever. In 2006, the first nuclear test was conducted three months after the test launch of a long-range missile and in 2009, a nuclear test followed the launch of a missile after a one-month interval.

Pessimism was further fuelled by a firming yen, which rose to a one-month high against the US dollar, which took a toll on the shares of Japanese exporters. It is noteworthy that this factor compels the BoJ management to think of the adoption of stimulus measures for the national economy. On April 27, when inflation numbers are due out, Bank of Japan governor Masaaki Shirakawa may announce the expansion of its asset purchase program and on April 10, the BoJ is to finalize its interest rate policy decision.

By the final bell, regional indicator STXE 600 sank 0.6% to close at 124.16. China’s CSI 300 index eased 0.98% and South Korea’s Kospi benchmark lost 1.57%. The markets in Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Thailand and the Philippines are closed today for a holiday.

The biggest Asian automotive producer Toyota shed 2.4%, while Canon, which gets over 80% of its revenue from foreign markets, saw 1.7% sliced off its market cap.

Taiwan smartphone maker HTC ditched 6.8% of its market cap after posting a 70% drop in quarterly profit, which fell short of the median analyst estimate, due to stiffening competition from Apple and Samsung.

The shares of China’s biggest developer China Vanke and China’s fourth largest developer Gemdale lost 1.9% and 2%, respectively.

South Korean defense firms Victek и Huneed Technologies led the advancers, each advancing 15%.

IndexCountryValueChangeChange, %YTD, %
S&P/ASX 200 Australia 4319.85 -14.02 -0.32% 6.49%
All Ordinaries Australia 4402.34 -16.61 -0.38% 7.09%
Ho Chi Minh Vietnam 450.73 3.29 0.74% 28.21%
Hang Seng Hong Kong 20593.00 -197.98 -0.95% 11.71%
Hang Seng H-shares Hong Kong 10744.91 -114.58 -1.06% 8.14%
BSE 30 (Sensex) India 17222.14 -263.88 -1.51% 11.43%
Jakarta Composite Indonesia 4154.07 -12.31 -0.30% 8.69%
Shanghai A-shares China 2394.10 -21.74 -0.90% 3.91%
CSI 300 China 2495.15 -24.68 -0.98% 6.37%
KLSE Composite Malaysia 1591.28 -7.59 -0.47% 3.96%
NZSE 50 New Zealand 3467.98 -12.44 -0.36% 5.90%
Karachi 100 Pakistan 13859.87 -15.66 -0.11% 22.50%
Straits Times Singapore 2960.10 -26.10 -0.87% 11.86%
Bangkok SET Thailand 1182.41 -15.68 -1.31% 64.59%
TAIEX Taiwan 7600.87 -105.39 -1.37% 7.48%
PSEi Philippines 5038.92 -17.56 -0.35% 15.26%
Colombo All-Shares Sri Lanka 5413.12 -10.13 -0.19% -10.89%
KOSPI South Korea 1997.08 -31.95 -1.57% 9.38%
Nikkei 225 Japan 9546.26 -142.19 -1.47% 12.90%
Topix Japan 813.69 -12.02 -1.46% 11.68%