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Asian Stocks and Treasuries Fall on Economic Growth Concern

Asian Stocks and Treasuries Fall on Economic Growth Concern

 

Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) — Asian stocks fell as reports signaled slowing global economic growth and Hewlett-Packard Co. forecast profit that missed estimates. The euro advanced for a second day, while oil declined from a nine-month high.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.2 percent as of 3:28 p.m. in Tokyo. Euro Stoxx 50 Index futures and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures were little changed. Ten-year Treasury yields increased two basis points to 2.02 percent. The euro climbed 0.2 percent to $1.3274 and China’s yuan fell by the most in three weeks. Oil slid 0.2 percent to $106.12 a barrel.

European services and manufacturing output shrank in February, Markit Economics said yesterday, and Taiwan cut its 2012 growth forecast. U.S. sales of previously owned houses missed economists’ forecasts, according to an industry report. MSCI’s Asian stock index has climbed 12 percent this year and is poised for a tenth weekly advance as China cut banks’ reserve ratios and Greece won a second bailout package.

“Investors are very skeptical about whether a recovery can proceed without another hurdle jumping up again,” said Angus Gluskie, who oversees about $350 million as managing director at White Funds Management in Sydney. “The austerity measures running through Europe are likely to take the edge off growth.”

Target Corp., Sears Holdings Corp. and Kohl’s Corp. are among U.S. companies scheduled to report earnings today. Initial claims for jobless insurance in the U.S. probably totaled 355,000 last week, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of economists before the Labor Department reports the figure today. The figure was 348,000 for the seven days ended Feb. 11, the least since March 2008.

 

Earnings Season

 

Shares of Credit Agricole SA, France’s third-largest bank, may be active as the company reported a fourth-quarter loss after setting aside money at its Greek consumer-banking network and writing down investments. Allianz SE, Europe’s biggest insurer, may move after reporting fourth-quarter profit that missed analyst estimates.

Technology companies slid 0.6 percent for the biggest drop among 10 industries in the MSCI Asia-Pacific Index, which has climbed 0.5 percent this week. Samsung Electronics Co., the largest consumer-electronics company in Asia, sank 3.1 percent. Kyocera Corp., which makes printers, fell 1.7 percent.

Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman said yesterday that the company’s PCs, printers and information- technology services haven’t been compelling enough to attract customers. The company’s revenue from servers, printers and storage gear also declined.

 

China Markets

 

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies listed in Hong Kong dropped 0.8 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.3 percent.

China’s benchmark money-market rate rose to a five-week high as lenders paid higher interest rates for government funds at an auction today. The central bank said it got 6.8 percent for 30 billion yuan ($4.8 billion) of six-month deposits at an auction conducted on behalf of the Ministry of Finance.

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao may signal next month that curbing pollution, inequality and the risk of financial instability eclipse the benefits of faster economic growth, a Bloomberg survey indicated. Wen will target an expansion of less than 8 percent in his report to the National People’s Congress in Beijing on March 5, according to 8 of 15 economists in the poll. The median estimate of 7.5 percent compares with the 8 percent goal maintained from 2005 to 2011, even during the 2008-09 world recession.

The Chinese yuan fell 0.07 percent to 6.3005 per dollar, the biggest decline since Feb. 6, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System.

Crude futures in New York have jumped 6.6 percent in the past month amid concern Iranian oil supplies may be disrupted. U.S. crude stockpiles rose 3.55 million barrels last week, figures from the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute showed. An Energy Department report today may show inventories climbed 1.35 million barrels to the highest level in almost five months, according to a Bloomberg News survey of analysts.

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