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domingo, setembro 13, 2009

Asian Stocks Fall as Yen Strengthens, Commodity Prices Decline

Asian Stocks Fall as Yen Strengthens, Commodity Prices Decline
By Shani Raja

Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Asian stocks fell, dragging the MSCI Asia Pacific Index from a one-year high, as the yen strengthened and commodity prices declined, overshadowing a bigger-than-estimated advance in U.S. consumer confidence.

Honda Motor Co., which gets 47 percent of its sales in North America, retreated 1.9 percent in Tokyo on concern the yen’s appreciation will lower the value of overseas revenue. Rio Tinto Group, the world’s No. 3 mining company, sank 1 percent in Sydney. Japan Airlines Corp. jumped 6.8 percent on speculation American Airlines, Inc. will buy a stake in the company.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index sank 0.9 percent to 116.77 as of 9:40 a.m. in Tokyo after ending last week at its highest level since Sept. 9, 2008. The gauge has climbed 65 percent from a five-year low on March 9 as government stimulus measures worldwide pulled the global economy out of recession.

“Expectations may be beginning to moderate regarding the ongoing strength of the recovery,” said Tim Schroeders, who helps manage about $1 billion at Pengana Capital Ltd. in Melbourne. “Investors will be concentrating on discerning real underlying trend growth in the global economy.”

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 1.7 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 0.6 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index added 0.2 percent.

Futures on the U.S. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 0.9 percent. The gauge dipped 0.1 percent on Sept. 11 even after a report showed the Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment rose more than economists had estimated in September.

Consumer Confidence

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 4.4 percent last week, its biggest weekly gain since the period ended July 24. The rally since March has driven the average price of stocks on the gauge to 24 times their estimated net income for this year, compared with 17 times for the S&P 500 and 16 times for Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index.

Honda fell 1.9 percent to 2,810 yen. Sony Corp., the world’s second-biggest maker of consumer electronics, dropped 2 percent to 2,435 yen.

The yen appreciated versus the dollar to as much as 90.21 today, a level not seen since Feb. 12. A stronger yen reduces the value of overseas sales at Japanese companies when converted into their home currency.

Japan’s large manufacturers expect the yen to trade at an average of 94.85 this year, according to the Bank of Japan’s most recent quarterly Tankan survey.

In Sydney, Rio lost 1 percent to A$58.66. Mitsui & Co., which counts commodities as its biggest source of profit, lost 1.5 percent to 1,215 yen in Tokyo.

Copper, Oil

Copper futures in New York dropped 1.3 percent today, the fourth day of declines. A gauge of six metals in London lost 3.5 percent on Sept. 11. Crude oil dropped 3.7 percent in New York the same day, the biggest decrease since Aug. 31.

Japan Airlines climbed 6.8 percent to 174 yen. American Airlines may buy a stake in the carrier, people familiar with the plan said. Japan Airlines, which has received three government bailouts since 2001, is also discussing possible stake sales to Delta Air Lines Inc. and Air France-KLM, people familiar with those negotiations have said.

Japan Air is talking with other carriers to strengthen its business, spokeswoman Sze Hunn Yap said in Tokyo, declining to comment on discussions or possible investments.

To contact the reporter for this story: Shani Raja in Sydney at sraja4@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: September 13, 2009 20:53 EDT

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