Weekly Roundup: Asian Stocks Fall On Global Growth Concerns
By Bhaskar Prasad | October 13, 2012 3:16 PM EST
Most of the Asian markets fell in the week as investor sentiment turned negative with the increasing concerns about the weakening global economy and the faltering growth prospects.
Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 3 percent and closed at 8534.12. South Korea's Kospi Index dropped 3 percent and closed at 1933.26.
Japan’s core machinery orders fell in August compared to that in the previous month, showing that there is an urgent need to take additional measures to enhance the growth potential of the economy. According to the data released Thursday by the Cabinet Office, Japan’s core machinery orders declined 3.3 percent in August down from 4.6 percent increase in July.
Meanwhile, the Bank of Korea cut its base rate by 25 basis points to 2.75 percent in a measure to loosen the policy to boost the country’s economic growth. Investors sense that further measures will be necessary to revive the economic growth.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.6 percent and closed at 21136.43. China's Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.9 percent and closed at 2104.93.
China's services activity growth rose in September after the fall in August, according to the HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) released Monday. The services PMI rose to 54.3 in September up from 52 in August, indicating improvement in the business activity.
The index continues to remain in the area of expansion since the reading is above 50. The rise in the reading would decrease fears of the likelihood of a sharp slowdown in the economy.
However, investors were concerned as the earning season commenced in the U.S. Tuesday with Alcoa Inc announcing its quarterly report. The company, which is the largest U.S. aluminum producer, lowered the global consumption forecast for 2012 to 6 percent down from 7 percent announced in July, citing the slowdown in China’s economy as the main reason.
Also weighing down the market sentiment was the decision by Standard & Poor’s to cut the sovereign credit rating of Spain to BBB-minus down from BBB-plus.
Market confidence went up on the U.S. Labor Department's weekly jobless claims data report Thursday showing an upswing in the jobs market. The initial jobless claims report rose to 339,000 in the week ending Oct. 6, down from 367,000 in the previous week.
India's BSE Sensex fell 1.4 percent and closed at 18675.18.
According to the data released by the government of India Friday, the country’s industrial output grew 2.7 percent in August compared to the same month last year, up from 0.1 percent rise in July. The manufacturing output grew at 2.9 percent in August, up from 0.2 percent decline in July.
According to the data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation Friday, India’s Consumer Price Index eased to 9.73 percent in September, down from 10.03 percent in August.
The IMF lowered the global growth forecast citing the debt crisis affecting the euro zone and the faltering U.S. economy. According to the World Economic Outlook released by the IMF Tuesday, the global economy will grow 3.3 percent in 2012, down from 3.5 percent growth it announced in July.
The IMF also gave the warning that policymakers in the U.S. and Europe would have to take necessary measures on an urgent basis to avert a further decline in the growth. The IMF cut the forecast for global growth in 2013 to 3.6 percent, down from 3.9 percent estimated in July.
Growth estimates for India (4.9 percent in 2012, 6 percent in 2013) and China (7.8 percent in 2012, 8.2 percent in 2013) were also cut by the IMF.
Major losers: Shares of Wipro Ltd fell 5.93 percent. Shares of Infosys Ltd declined 5.23 percent and those of Tata Motors dropped 3.50 percent.
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