Asian Stocks Fall

Asian stocks fell, as the MSCI Asia Pacific Index resumed its worst start to a year in two decades, on renewed concern the deepening global recession is hurting corporate earnings., Bloomberg 2/26/2009 5:42:31 AM

Advantest Corp., the world’s biggest maker of memory-chip testers, sank 13 percent in Tokyo after forecasting a loss. Telstra Corp., Australia’s No. 1 telephone company, slid 2.4 percent in Sydney on lower profit. Daiichi Sankyo Co., Japan’s third-largest drugmaker, slumped 9.5 percent after U.S. regulators suspended reviews of medicines made by its Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. unit. Ranbaxy Laboratories plunged 18 percent.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.9 percent to 74.73 as of 7:21 p.m. in Tokyo, taking its drop this year to 17 percent. That’s the worst start to a year for the measure since 1990. The gauge has lost 49 percent in the past 12 months and closed at its lowest in more than five years on Feb. 24, as recessions in the world’s largest economies battered earnings in Asia.

Japan’s Topix Index declined 0.4 percent, while the Nikkei 225 Stock Average closed little changed. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed 0.9 percent lower, while South Korea’s Kospi Index fell 1.2 percent. Most markets in the region declined, while Australia, Taiwan, India and Pakistan posted gains.

European stocks rose for the first time in five days after UBS AG replaced its chief executive officer and the U.K. government extended guarantees on bank assets.

Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index climbed 2 percent to 175.78 at 12:52 p.m. in London, rebounding from a six-year low. The Stoxx 600 has lost 11 percent this year as companies from Anglo American Plc to Cie. de Saint-Gobain SA indicated the recession is deepening and credit-market losses at financial firms reached $1.1 trillion.

European confidence in the economic outlook dropped to the lowest on record in February, the European Commission in Brussels said. Other data also pointed to a worsening slump as German unemployment rose for a fourth month and European retail sales fell for the ninth straight month.