Asian Stocks Fall on US, Europe Data

 
on May 03 2012 5:10 AM

Asian stock markets declined on Thursday as weaker-than-expected economic reports from the US and Europe dampened investor sentiment.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.28 percent or 59.55 points to 21,249.53, South Korean KOSPI fell 0.2 percent or 3.96 points to 1,995.11 and Indian benchmark BSE Sensex fell 0.59 percent, while Chinese Shanghai gained 0.07 percent.

Concerns over the strength of global economic recovery resurfaced after weak reading on US private-sector hiring and a slew of soft European PMIs.

Payroll firm ADP Employer Services said the US private sector added fewer jobs than expected in April. Companies added 119,000 workers to their payrolls in April, down from a downwardly revised 201,000 jobs added in March.

“The soft ADP report in particular highlights downside risks to the consensus for the April non-farm payrolls data and consequently we have revised down our expectations to 130k from 170k, an outcome that would prompt concerns about a renewed weakening in the US jobs market,” said a note from Credit Agricole.

Of further concern was data from Europe which showed manufacturing activity in the Eurozone region shrank at the sharpest level in nearly three years in April and unemployment rose to a record high in March.

The Markit Economics reported that manufacturing activity in the 17-country Eurozone fell to 45.9 in April from 47.7 in March. Unemployment in the Eurozone region rose to 10.9 percent in March, the highest level since the formation of the euro bloc in 1999.

Among the stocks, Bank of China Ltd. Plunged 3.07 percent and China Construction Bank Corp. plunged 3.08 percent on news that Temasek Holdings, the Singapore state-owned investment group, sold $2.48 billion of shares in both the banks as profit growth in banks is decreasing with tighter controls on lending in the country.

Poly Real Estate Group declined 0.38 percent and China Vanke declined 1.95 percent after Chinese media reported several banks in Shanghai, including ICBC, have withdrawn their discounted mortgage offers, raising fears that property sales could drop further, Reuters reported.

Japanese stock markets were closed for public holiday.

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