Asia Stocks Hit By Apple Results, Greece
Published Wednesday, 25 July 2012 09:29 | Written by Amwal Al Ghad
Asia markets declined Wednesday as concern that Greece may be unable to pay off its debt hit sentiment, with technology shares battered in the wake of disappointing earnings from Apple Inc.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average JP:100000018 -1.44% lost 1.7%, South Korea’s Kospi KR:SEU -1.37% dropped 1.2%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HK:HSI -0.38% HK:HSI -0.38% fell 0.7%.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index AU:XJO -0.23% shed 0.3% and China’s Shanghai Composite Index CN:000001 -0.49% slipped 0.2%.
“It’s all a sentiment story right now. There are a lot of factors that have a much smaller direct impact on the economy than the markets are reflecting, like Europe,” said Naomi Fink, Jefferies Japan strategist.
European concerns combined with lackluster corporate earnings reports to drag U.S. stocks lower Tuesday. Reports that Greece could need more debt restructuring, placing additional strain on the European Central Bank and other euro-zone members, inflamed existing worries about the fragility of the region’s economy. Read more on Tuesday's U.S. session.
“While there are still weeks to go before any official decision must be made regarding the Greek aid program, markets will likely assume the worst,” said Win Thin, Brown Brothers Harriman’s global head of emerging markets strategy.
“Uncertainty in this environment breeds more negativism,” Thin said.
In Tokyo, escalating European woes sent euro to decade-lows against the Japanese yen JPYEUR -0.40% JPYEUR -0.40% JPYEUR -0.40% weighing heavily on blue-chip exporters.
Sharp Corp. JP:6753 -10.03% SHCAF -1.73% plunged 9.7%, Panasonic Corp. JP:6752 -5.49% PC +1.26% dropped 6.7%, and Honda Motor Co. JP:7267 -2.32% HMC -1.87% retreated 3%.
Shares of Toshiba Corp. JP:6502 -7.28% TOSYY -5.60% extended recent weakness with a 8.8% slump, after cutting production of NAND flash-memory chips.
Below-expectation earnings from global technology giant Apple Inc. AAPL -0.48% AAPL -0.48% AAPL -0.48% prompted a sharp sell-off of electronics firms across Asia.
“One of the reasons why the result has had quite a big impact on Asia is because of the component supply chains, and a huge amount of Japanese and Korean companies are in the Apple supply chain,” Jefferies Japan’s Fink said.
“Apple is premier among smartphone makers, and yet even Apple is not immune to the global slowdown in demand,” she said.
Among Tokyo-listed technology majors losing ground, Advantest Corp. JP:6857 -3.75% ADTTF -15.71% dropped 3.8%, Kyocera Corp. JP:6971 -1.95% KYO -1.75% shed 2.3%, and NEC Corp. JP:6701 -2.00% gave up 3%.
In Seoul, LG Display Co. LPL +0.96% tumbled 4.3%.
Property names were weak in Hong Kong, as Sino Land Co. SNLAY 0.00% HK:83 -1.90% lost 1.6% and Agile Property Holdings Ltd. HK:3383 -4.37% HK:3383 -4.37% sank 3.8%.
Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd. CHEUY -0.94% HK:1 -1.36% dropped 1.1% following news the property major is leading a consortium to buy U.K. gas distribution assets for $1 billion. Read more on Cheung Kong's U.K. gas buy-out.
Declines for resource plays weighed in Sydney.
Global miner Rio Tinto Ltd. AU:RIO -1.45% RIO -1.77% fell 1.2%, and energy firm Santos Ltd. AU:STO -0.19% SSLTY 0.00% dropped 0.7%.
Shares of Macquarie Group Ltd. AU:MQG -1.77% MQBKY -1.53% surrendered 1.8% although the investment bank said it expects improved financial results in the 2013 fiscal year.
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