Asian stocks fall from 2-week high as US earnings disappoint

Pedestrians walk past an electronic stock board displaying the closing figure of the Nikkei 225 Stock Average outside a securities firm in Tokyo.
Pedestrians walk past an electronic stock board displaying the closing figure of the Nikkei 225 Stock Average outside a securities firm in Tokyo.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index retreating from a two-week high, as technology-related shares declined after companies including Apple and Microsoft reported disappointing results.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.5 per cent to 144.56 as of 9:08 a.m. in Tokyo. U.S. equity-index futures slipped as Apple tumbled more than 6 per cent in extended U.S. trading after missing analysts' estimates for revenue and iPhone shipments. Microsoft fell 4 per cent on its record net loss.

"Markets are going to get more volatile,"said Nader Naeimi, head of dynamic asset allocation at AMP Capital Investors Ltd. in Sydney.

"The earnings season in the US is going to be quite weak. Investors are expecting too much from Apple, and that's already reflected in the share price. How much more improvement can Apple deliver unless they introduce a radically different product from what competitors like Samsung are offering?"

Japan's Topix index fell 0.9 per cent. South Korea's Kospi index slid 0.5 per cent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index dipped 0.9 per cent, while New Zealand's NZX 50 Index added 0.4 per cent. Markets in China and Hong Kong have yet to open.

The Shanghai Composite Index advanced for a fourth day on Tuesday, finishing above 4,000 for the first time since July 1 and capping its longest stretch of gains since May. Smaller companies extended a bull-market rally and speculation grew the government's market-support measures have contained excessive price swings.

The Chinese benchmark has rebounded 15 per cent since July 8, following a month-long rout that cost shareholders almost US$4 trillion, as policy makers introduced a spate of measures to bolster equities. The Shanghai index on Monday posted the smallest price swings since the rout began.

E-mini futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 0.4 per cent. The US equity benchmark index retreated 0.4 per cent on Tuesday.

The S&P 500 had rallied 4 per cent since a low on July 8, reclaiming almost all of its losses that stemmed from worries over Greece's debt crisis and China's market rout. The easing of those tensions sparked the Stoxx 600's rally that added 9.1 per cent and pushed it to within 2 per cent of its record.

European Central Bank officials are holding a telephone call on Wednesday to discuss the Emergency Liquidity Assistance that keeps Greece's financial system alive. They're about to send a team back to the Greek capital to monitor compliance with austerity policies that the government accepted in return for a bailout deal.