Tough end to a tough week for Asian markets

<p>  Today proved to be a lower end to a tough week for Asian stocks. The MSCI Asia Pacific index was 0.9% lower in early […]</p>

 

Today proved to be a lower end to a tough week for Asian stocks.

The MSCI Asia Pacific index was 0.9% lower in early afternoon Tokyo trading with stocks dragged down, not only by offshore leads, but also a lower than expected Chinese PMI reading.

China’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index was 50.4 in May, the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said today.

The impact is flowing into the Hong Kong market as consumption growth cools. In Hong Kong, jewelry sales including watches and valuable gifts rose an average of 17% in the first three months of this year compared to the prior corresponding quarter. That’s down from growth of about 37% growth in the last quarter of 2011.

China’s PMI numbers out today compare with market expectations of a number closer to 52 which factored in a fall from last month’s 53.3 reading. Today’s fall surprised many.

The Australian dollar slipped to an intraday low of 96.50 US cents before recovering slightly to last settle at 96.98. The dollar yen slipped below 79 to last trade at 78.45 while the Euro continued to weaken, last at 123.65.

All eyes are on US employment numbers due out tonight Asian time. Market expectations are for payrolls to have risen by 150,000 workers this month compared to 115,000 last month.

The unemployment rate is expected to remain steady at 8.1%. Numbers below these forecasts are likely to disappoint further.

Meanwhile in corporate headlines, Formula One Chief Executive Office Bernie Ecclestone has hosed down expectations of an IPO, which will not take place due to market conditions. Ecclestone remains hopeful that an IPO is still on the table but timing will be impacted by market movements and the process has not been completely shelved.

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