Tough week for Asian regional stocks as US debt concerns linger

<p>American Republican lawmakers called off a vote on House Speaker John Boehner’s, sparking more concerns in Asian markets going into the weekend. The MSCI Asia […]</p>

American Republican lawmakers called off a vote on House Speaker John Boehner’s, sparking more concerns in Asian markets going into the weekend. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index sank 0.7% at noon in Tokyo, led by a 1.5% drop in a technology gauge after Nintendo and Sony reduced profit forecasts. The S&P500 Index futures slumped 0.6%. The Yen climbed as much as 0.2% to 77.48 per dollar, the strongest level since March 17. 

Oil fell 0.4% in New York, set for its first weekly loss this month while gold traded within 1% of an all-time high and copper rose for a second day. Losses today extended the MSCI Asia Pacific Index’s weekly drop to 1.7%. The gauge is still headed for a 1.3% monthly gain, its first since April. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average slid 0.7%, South Korea’s Kospi Index fell 0.8% and Taiwan’s Taiex Index dropped 1.3%.

In corporate news, Nintendo fell the most in at least 21 years in Osaka trading after a lack of demand for its new 3-D handheld player led the company to slash the product’s price and earnings forecasts. Nintendo – the world’s largest maker of video-game machines – tumbled as much as 21% to 11,010 Yen and traded at 11,210 Yen in morning trade on the Osaka Securities Exchange. In Hong Kong, AIA Group – the third-largest Asia-based insurer by market value – reported a stronger-than- estimated 24% increase in first-half profit, sending its shares higher by around 2.9%. 

In Sydney, Macquarie Group Chief Executive Officer Nicholas Moore may struggle to meet the full-year profit forecast he reiterated yesterday, said analysts. Moore yesterday stuck to his forecast that profit will top the A$956 million reported for the previous fiscal year. Markets will need to rebound in coming months for that to happen which does seem unlikely. Elsewhere in Australia, the chief executive of brewer Foster’s Group said the beer market will return to a long-term trend of modest growth after Australia moves through the current period of economic uncertainty today. 

In energy, oil for September delivery fell 0.3% to US$97.16 a barrel. Prices are 2.7% lower this week and 1.7% higher the past month. In metals, Copper for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange gained 0.3% to US$9,846 a metric ton after workers at BHP Billiton Escondida mine in Chile pledged to extend a weeklong strike that has halted shipments from the world’s biggest copper mine. Immediate-delivery gold climbed as much as 0.2% to US$1,618.45 an ounce before trading at US$1,616.65. Spot gold has rallied 7.7% this month and reached an all-time high of US$1,628.05 earlier this week.

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