Asian stocks slide as investors weigh Nintendo, Samsung earnings

Pedestrians walk in front of an electronics stock display in the window of a securities company in Tokyo.
Pedestrians walk in front of an electronics stock display in the window of a securities company in Tokyo. PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (BLOOMBERG) - Asian stocks fell on Thursday (Oct 27) as investors reacted to a slew of earnings at companies from Samsung Electronics to Nintendo.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.2 per cent to 139.66 as of 9:14am in Tokyo. Samsung shares climbed after posting profit that beat analyst estimates even after the demise of its fire-prone Note7 smartphone, while Nintendo slumped after cutting its operating profit outlook. Investors are also awaiting results from China Construction Bank Corp on Thursday as the nation grapples with a rising tide of bad loans.

The Asian benchmark gauge is little changed so far this month after capping its best quarter since 2012, as investors digested company earnings while speculating on the trajectory of Federal Reserve interest rates ahead of the US presidential elections. The vote, as well as the next Fed and Bank of Japan meetings, are due in the next two weeks. Traders see a 17 per cent chance the Fed will raise rates on Nov 2, while odds of a December move rose to 74 per cent from 64 per cent a week ago.

"People are quite hesitant to put money to work ahead of the election," Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG Ltd. in Melbourne, said by phone. "I wouldn't be surprised to see a fairly subdued sideways-trade for markets until then."

Japan's Topix index fell for the first time in four days. Nintendo dragged on the equity benchmark gauge on Thursday, falling 2 per cent, as the popularity of Pokemon Go failed to make up for sliding sales of 3DS and Wii U games. Investors are also shifting focus toward the BOJ meeting on Nov 1 as the central bank decides on monetary policy.

South Korea's Kospi index climbed 0.2 per cent after closing at a six-week low on Wednesday, as Samsung added 0.5 per cent. The world's biggest smartphone maker posted third-quarter net income of 4.4 trillion won (S$5.4 billion), beating estimates for a 3.9 trillion won profit. Scores of reports about battery fires and explosions forced Samsung to kill its most profitable model this month, punctuating its worst corporate crisis to date.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.3 per cent. New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 Index added 0.5 per cent after the nation's trade deficit widened to a record.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, Southeast Asia's second-largest lender, reported that third-quarter profit climbed, beating estimates, before the opening of Singapore's Straits Times Index.

Markets in China and Hong Kong have yet to start trading. Futures on the FTSE China A50 Index gained 0.1 per cent and the Hang Seng Index climbed 0.2 per cent in their most recent trading. The Shanghai Composite Index ended three days of gains on Wednesday that took it to its highest level since January while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index for mainland Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong fell the most in two weeks as energy companies dragged and Great Wall Motor Co tumbled after at least three analysts cut their rating on the stock.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index were little changed on Thursday. The US equity benchmark closed 0.2 per cent lower after swinging between gains and losses as a rally in financial and industrial companies advanced to counter losses among health-care and technology shares.