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Sunday, 28 October 2012
Asian Stocks Fluctuate on Profit; Hurricane Closes NYSE
By Adam Haigh - Oct 29, 2012 8:14 AM GMT+0400
Asian stocks swung between gains and losses after mixed earnings at companies from Honda Motor Co. to Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. and LG Display Co. Hong Kong developers slid on a new real-estate tax.
Trading volumes were below average across the region as the U.S. financial regulator canceled all stock trading as a precaution to protect workers as Hurricane Sandy barrels toward New York City. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) declined 0.1 percent to 121.41 as of 1:11 p.m. inTokyo, having earlier gained as much as 0.3 percent.
Visitors look at the trading floor of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.2 percent to 121.33 as of 12:49 p.m. in Tokyo, having earlier gained as much as 0.3 percent. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg
Honda, Japan’s third-largest carmaker, tumbled 3.9 percent after cutting its full-year profit forecast. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial (8316), Japan’s second-biggest lender by market value, advanced 1.3 percent after saying earnings probably beat its forecast. LG Display climbed 7.6 percent in Seoul after posting its first profit in more than a year. New World Development Co. led Hong Kong’s real-estate companies lower, dropping 7 percent, on a new property tax targeting overseas buyers.
Hong Kong authorities “are trying to slow speculative activity in the property market, though I don’t think they are telling people not to buy properties,” said Khiem Do, Hong Kong-based head of Asian multi-asset strategy at Baring Asset Management (Asia) Ltd., which oversees about $8 billion. “Earnings have been downgraded quite a lot over the past few months, but I think they hit the level where perhaps the downgrades have stabilized.”
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 0.1 percent, reversing an earlier advance. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.5 percent and South Korea’s Kopsi Index added 0.2 percent.
The Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.1 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index declined 0.2 percent.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.3 percent. The last time the NYSE cut trading hours for weather was Jan. 8, 1996, when a blizzard dropped more than 20 inches of snow onNew York City.
The canceling of U.S. equity trading on all markets today, announced by the Securities and Exchange Commission and exchanges, followed an earlier decision by the New York Stock Exchange to close floor trading. Risks posed by the storm, expected to come ashore early Oct. 30 in southern New Jersey, were deemed too great to require workers to travel.
“You’ll expect to see limited volumes over Monday and potentially Tuesday,” said Steve Goldman, managing director at Kapstream Capital in Sydney. “The storm, depending on how bad it is, could take markets down. I grew up on the east coast and still have a house there. This one seems to be bigger than ones we’ve ever seen in the past, so there is some big downside risk if the storm turns out to be one of the biggest in U.S. history like they are predicting today.”
Trading volume on the Nikkei 225 was 21 percent below its 30-day average for the time of day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Shares changing hands on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 were 41 percent below average, the data show.