Stock Drops to Monthly Low on Asian Market, Ukraine

From Bloomberg – Asian stocks outside of Japan fell, with a regional gauge heading for its lowest close in a month, as investors weighed developments in Ukraine and corporate earnings.

asian stock fall

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., also known as Sinopec, slid 1.6 percent in Hong Kong after Asia’s biggest refiner posted first-quarter profit that missed analyst estimates. Newcrest Mining Ltd., Australia’s No. 1 gold producer, slipped 3.1 percent in Sydney as the price of the bullion headed for a second daily decline. Posco climbed 2.1 percent after the Korean Economic Daily said South Korea’s largest steelmaker is considering the sale of Daewoo International Corp.

The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index fell 0.3 percent to 474.78 as of 2:22 p.m. in Hong Kong, headed for the lowest close since April 1, as seven of the 10 industry groups on the gauge declined. Major U.S. indexes recovered in the last hour of trading yesterday, paring losses sparked by the U.S. and European Union levying new sanctions against Russia, amid optimism over mergers and acquisitions. Pfizer Inc. added 4.2 percent after proposing to buy AstraZeneca Plc for about 58.8 billion pounds ($98.9 billion).

“When you see M&A activity, that’s enough to drive things a little bit higher as people try to anticipate the next deal,” Tim Schroeders, a Melbourne-based money manager who helps oversee $1 billion in equities at Pengana Capital Ltd., said by phone. “Take the M&A driver out of the market, investors are justifiably cautious. We’ve seen mixed results during this earnings season and the geopolitical situation, particularly in Ukraine, doesn’t seem to get any better.”