Most Asian stocks ended lower Tuesday, following a slump in the Wall Street overnight as disappointing March employment report raised concerns about the strength of recovery in the world’s biggest economy.
The Japanese benchmark Nikkei edged down 0.09 percent or 8.24 points to 9,538 and Honk Kong’s Hang Seng plunged 1.15 percent or 236.76 points to 20,356, while South Korea’s Seoul Composite fell 0.13 percent or 2.67 points to 1,994.41.
Japanese stocks pared gains and ended with losses after the Bank of Japan (BoJ) refrained from additional stimulus.
“The Bank of Japan concluded the policy meeting and left the set-up for the “comprehensive monetary easing” unchanged. Although one of the policy boards Mr. Ryuzo Miyao proposed expanding the asset purchase fund by JPY5 trillion in the last meeting, he did not do so this time and the decision to stay put was a unanimous 7-0 vote,” said a note from Credit Agricole.
Exporter companies' shares gained on weaker yen, which strengthened slightly after the BOJ announcement. Toyota Motor Corp gained 1.51 percent and Nissan Motor co. advanced 0.60 percent.
Sony Corp. plunged for the second day after announcing that it will cut 10,000 jobs. Sharp Corp. plunged 4.33 percent on news that the company was expected to post a bigger net loss for the 2011 fiscal year than previously projected due to poor sales of TVs and solar cells.
In Hong Kong, property and financial companies’ shares led the decline. China Resources Land Ltd. declined 2.10 percent and China Life Insurance Co declined 2.44 percent, while Guangdong Investment fell 2.10 percent.
Meanwhile, Chinese shares gained after data showed that China returned to an export-led trade surplus in March. Shanghai Composite gained 0.88 percent or 20.09 points to 2,305.86.
China’s trade position swung to $5.4 billion surplus in March compared to $31.5 billion deficit in February and much better than the expected deficit of $3.2 billion.
Exports surged 8.9 percent to $165.66 billion for the month, but it was less than that in February when it was 18.4 percent. Imports increased 5.3 percent for March, which was much lower than 39.6 percent growth witnessed in February.