Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index heading for its lowest close since November 2012, as a stronger yen weighed on shares in Tokyo and investors awaited the resumption of trading in China following a holiday.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.5 percent to 124.17 as of 9:01 a.m. in Tokyo. The gauge slumped 4.8 percent last week, capping its seventh weekly decline, as a contraction in Chinese manufacturing reinforced investor concern about the world’s second-biggest economy. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 1.5 percent on Friday after August payrolls data failed to provide clarity on the interest-rate outlook.
“The key focus this week would be China as the market reopens, with investors looking out for data on exports and inflation that are due this week,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney. “Investors are increasingly concerned about the slowdown in the Chinese economy. There’s a lot of potential market-moving news in the next two weeks, including the possibility of a U.S. interest rate-hike this month. It might be time for investors to keep their seat belts on.”
China worked to soothe concern over its economy at the Group of 20 gathering in Turkey at the weekend, with officials predicting stabilization in the currency and stock markets in the coming weeks. People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said in a statement that the rout in Chinese equities is close to ending, and that state intervention prevented systemic risk and stopped a free-fall.
Friday’s U.S. payrolls report showed that while wages and the number of hours worked increased last month, the economy added fewer workers than expected, leaving bets on a rate hike in September around 30 percent. International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde emphasized that the Federal Reserve must be certain the U.S. can handle higher rates given the impact monetary tightening will have on the global economy.
Japan’s Topix index lost 0.7 percent after the yen strengthened for a third straight week. South Korea’s Kospi index fell 0.2 percent, as did Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index added 0.1 percent. Markets in China and Hong Kong have yet to open.
The Shanghai Composite Index dropped 2.2 percent in last week’s shortened trading, with mainland markets closed on Thursday and Friday. China releases trade data on Tuesday and inflation numbers on Sept. 10.
E-mini futures on the S&P 500 gained 0.2 percent Monday. U.S. markets are closed Monday for a public holiday.
Courtesy:Bloomberg Business 7 September 2015