Asian Stocks Fall on Earnings Concern


Asian stocks fell for the first time in four days as a lower profit forecast from Olympus Corp. and downgrades of Posco and South Korean shipbuilders by Goldman, Sachs & Co. fueled concern regional earnings growth will slow.

Olympus, Japan's third-largest maker of digital cameras, plunged the most in almost six years. Posco, Asia's third- largest steelmaker, slid after Goldman recommended investors sell the stock amid higher raw-material prices and slower global growth. Nintendo Co. dropped on speculation a weakening U.S. economy will erode profit for exporters.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 1 percent to 146.80 at 11:16 a.m. in Tokyo, halting a three-day, 5 percent rally that lifted the benchmark yesterday to the highest since Jan. 15.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average slipped 1.2 percent to 13,688.01. The S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 1.2 percent in Australia, where the central bank is expected to raise interest rates to an 11-year high today. Benchmarks retreated in all other markets open for trading. Taiwan is closed for a holiday.

U.S. stocks fell yesterday for the first time in three days after some analysts told investors to sell American Express Co., Wells Fargo & Co. and Wachovia Corp. on concern a recession will worsen defaults among consumers.


TradingEconmics.com, Bloomberg
2/4/2008 8:06:43 PM