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Asian equities drop for second consecutive day
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2012-03-07 07:52

Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index set for its steepest two-day decline this year, as declining US factory orders and slower growth in China crimped the earnings outlook for miners and machinery makers.

BHP Billiton Ltd, Australia's top mining company, lost 2.3 percent in Sydney after metal prices slid. Fanuc Corp, which makes industrial robots, dropped 2.5 percent in Tokyo. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd declined 3.8 percent in Hong Kong after the South China Morning Post said Goldman Sachs Group Inc may sell a "big chunk" of the lender. AIA Group Ltd slumped 8.4 percent in Hong Kong after parent American International Group Inc said it sold shares in the insurance company.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 1.2 percent to 125.37 as of 5:18 pm in Tokyo with about three stocks falling for each that rose. The measure lost 1 percent on Monday after advancing the past 11 weeks, a record winning streak, amid optimism that the US economy is growing and monetary easing in China, Japan and Europe will spur growth.

"The market is digesting its gains over the past few months, and it's consolidating," said Khiem Do, the Hong Kong-based head of Asian multi-asset strategy at Baring Asset Management (Asia) Ltd, which oversees about $10 billion. "China is slowing down and the US is growing, but at a modest pace."

HSI volume surges

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 2.2 percent as volumes surged to more than double their 30-day intraday average amid a sell-off of AIA shares. The Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks the larger of China's stock exchanges, fell 1.4 percent.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 0.6 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 1.4 percent as the Reserve Bank of Australia kept the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 4.25 percent. South Korea's Kospi Index fell 0.8 percent.

Futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index slid 0.4 percent on Tuesday after the measure fell 0.4 percent in New York on Monday. US reports showed factory orders dropped in January for the first time in three months, offsetting gains in the services sector.

Japanese machinery

Machinery makers slid, with Fanuc losing 2.5 percent to 14,330 yen ($176.69). Hitachi Construction Machinery Co, a Japanese machinery maker, gained 2.8 percent 1,659 yen.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China slid 3.8 percent to HK$5.26 (68 US cents) after the South China Morning Post reported that Goldman Sachs informally contacted "several major institutions" to seek their input on a possible sale of the lender's shares. China Construction Bank Corp dropped 3.1 percent to HK$6.23.

Mining companies fell after the London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial commodities including copper and aluminum lost 1.4 percent on Monday, the steepest slide since Feb 10. BHP Billiton slid 2.3 percent to A$34.58 ($36.67). Minmetals Resources Ltd fell 4.6 percent to HK$4.11.

Source:China Daily 
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