Asian stocks outside Japan fall as commodity losses mount

A pedestrian looking at a share prices board of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo on April 5, 2016.
A pedestrian looking at a share prices board of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo on April 5, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Asian stocks outside Japan dropped on Tuesday (May 10), with a regional benchmark index heading for its longest losing streak since September 2000, as commodity producers producers fell with crude oil and industrial metals. Japanese equities climbed as the yen weakened.

The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index fell 0.4 per cent to 401.08 as of 9:07 am in Tokyo, heading for a 10th day of losses. Stocks around the world have lost momentum over the past two weeks amid simmering pessimism over the pace of global growth and lackluster corporate earnings.

"Worries about global growth have re-emerged," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at Sydney-based AMP Capital Investors Ltd., which oversees about US$120 billion. "There could be further weakness in the market. Recent news out of China hasn't helped sentiment."

Chinese trade data released over the weekend showed exports declined in April, while imports dropped for the 18th month in a row. At the same time, weaker-than-expected American jobs figures from Friday fueled bets over continued central-bank support as traders speculated the Federal Reserve will employ a slower pace of policy tightening.

South Korea's Kospi index added 0.1 per cent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.3 per cent. New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 Index was little changed. Japan's Topix index added 0.3 per cent as the yen traded near a two-week low. Markets in China and Hong Kong have yet to start trading. The broader regional MSCI Asia Pacific Index, which includes Japan, slipped 0.2 per cent.

Futures on the China A50 Index dropped 0.3 per cent in most recent trading, while those on the Hang Seng Index fell 0.6 per cent. The Shanghai Composite Index sank 2.8 per cent on Monday, taking its two-day loss to 5.5 per cent, the most since Feb 25.

Investor sentiment toward Chinese stocks has turned more bearish as a boom in commodities futures waned and data showed March's pickup in economic indicators didn't carry over to April, with manufacturing gauges missing predictions. The Shanghai Composite has lost 20 per cent this year, the biggest decline among global benchmark indexes tracked by Bloomberg.

Philippine markets resume trading on Tuesday following Monday's election. Rodrigo Duterte, the tough-talking mayor who tapped voter frustrations over crime and inefficient public services, claimed victory in the Philippine presidential election.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index slipped 0.1 per cent. The US equity benchmark index added 0.1 per cent on Monday as a rally in health-care shares was offset by declines among commodity producers, while investors awaited a final batch of earnings reports and further clues on prospects for the economy.