Rio Tinto Group, the world’s No. 3 mining company, slumped 10 percent in Sydney on speculation of a share sale. Malayan Banking Bhd., Malaysia’s biggest bank, dropped 5.8 percent as new shares from a rights offer began trading today and Calyon Securities said U.S. banks’ loan losses may exceed Great Depression levels. Telstra Corp. rose 4.4 percent, leading phone companies higher, on an Australian government plan to build a high-speed Internet network.
Five stocks declined for every four that advanced on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, which lost 0.2 percent to 86.86 at 6:20 p.m. in Tokyo, following a four-day, 7.6 percent advance. The gauge surged 23 percent through yesterday from a five-year low on March 9, amid speculation governments worldwide will succeed in efforts to revive growth.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 0.5 percent. The S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 1.3 percent in Australia, where the central bank cut interest rates today. Japan’s Topix Index added 0.2 percent as the Bank of Japan moved to encourage bank lending. Markets fell except in China, the Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Vietnam. India is shut today.