Asian Stock Markets Fall On US Economic Data

 
on April 20 2012 4:58 AM
Nikkei Stock Exchange
Nikkei Stock Exchange Yuriko Nakao/Reuters

Asian stock markets declined Friday as batch of disappointing economic readings from the US signaled that the recovery was slowing in the world's biggest economy.

The Japanese benchmark Nikkei declined 0.28 percent or 27.02 points to 9,561.36, South Korea's Seoul composite plunged 1.26 percent and Indian benchmark BSE Sensex fell 0.13 percent.

On Thursday, weaker-than-expected reports on housing, jobless claims and manufacturing data intensified concerns over the economic recovery in the world's biggest economy. Data showed that more Americans than expected filed for unemployment benefits last week, a sign of lost momentum in the labor market.

Data on housing also disappointed with sales of previously owned homes in the US declined for the second straight month and missed expectations. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said that factory activity in the Mid-Atlantic region slowed sharply in April.

In Japan, exporter companies' shares led the decline on weak US economic data. Canon Inc declined 0.53 percent and Honda Motor fell 1.04 percent while Toyota Motor slipped 1.93 percent.

Indian stocks are currently trading lower after gaining more than 400 points in this week. Heavy weight Reliance Industries declined 0.83 percent and Tata Motors fell 0.56 percent while Maruti Suzuki India gained 0.85 percent.

Meanwhile, Chinese shares advanced on hopes that the government will ease monetary policy to bolster economic growth in the worlds' second biggest economy, which is expected to slow to around 8.4 percent this year.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.07 percent or 15.63 points to 21,010.64 and Chinese Shanghai surged 1.19 percent.

Citing an unidentified central bank official, the official Xinhua news agency reported earlier this week that the China would increase liquidity both through open market operations and by cutting banks' reserve requirements to steer the economy towards a soft landing, Reuters reported.

Among the stocks, rail car makers CSR Corp. surged 3.54 percent and China CNR Corp. gained 3.22 percent in Shanghai while Poly Real Estate ended lower after announcing that its first quarter net profit plunged 24 percent.

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