Asian Stocks Fall


Asian stocks fell, led by banks and insurers, as share-sale plans fanned concern the credit crunch is causing funding difficulties at companies across the region.

Nomura Holdings Inc., Japan’s largest securities firm, lost 14 percent after saying it may sell shares to replenish capital. Suncorp-Metway Ltd., Australia’s third-largest general insurer, plunged 21 percent after it sold stock at a discount. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, climbed 3.4 percent as it said it may acquire mines and plants from distressed sellers.

About five stocks declined for every four that advanced on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, which dropped 0.3 percent to 83.16 as of 6:24 p.m. in Tokyo. The gauge has fallen 7.2 percent in 2009, extending last year’s record 43 percent tumble, as the world’s biggest economies sank into recession.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 1.3 percent to 7,969.03, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.8 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 1.1 percent. All markets gained except South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and Indonesia.

European stocks fluctuated between gains and losses as a rally in real-estate shares and earnings from Barclays Plc that beat estimates offset a delay in the announcement of the U.S. government’s financial recovery plan.

Hammerson Plc jumped 8.3 percent after the U.K. property company that co-owns London’s Brent Cross shopping center said it plans to raise about 584 million pounds ($861 million) to avoid breaking bank agreements. Barclays added 8.1 percent. U.S. index futures slid as officials debated proposals aimed at addressing the toxic debt clogging banks’ balance sheets.

About three stocks advanced for every two that dropped in Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index. The regional gauge added 0.1 percent at 11:46 a.m. in London, after earlier falling as much 0.9 percent.


TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
2/9/2009 5:23:26 AM