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Asia stocks slip as China’s inflation data misses expectations; Toyota forecasts profit plunge

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Key Points

  • Stocks in major Asia Pacific markets mostly declined on Tuesday.
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led losses among the region’s major markets as it fell 1.78% by the afternoon.
  • China’s inflation for April released by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics missed expectations.
  • In its earnings report for fiscal year 2020, Japanese automaker Toyota forecasted a 79.5% plunge in its operating income for the 2021 fiscal year.

Stocks in major Asia Pacific markets were lower on Tuesday, as Chinese inflation data for April missed expectations.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.48%, as of its final hour of trading.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 declined 0.12% to close at 20,366.48 while the Topix index slipped 0.26% to end its trading day at 1,476.72. South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.68% lower at 1,922.17.

Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed on the day, with the Shanghai composite down 0.11% to about 2,891.56 while the Shenzhen composite rose 0.332% to around 1,810.73.

In Southeast Asia, Singapore’s Straits Times index declined 0.99% in afternoon trade.

Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia fell 1.07% to close at 5,403.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index declined 0.95%.

“It’s hard to see equities powering further higher,” Rob Carnell, chief economist and head of research for Asia-Pacific at ING, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday. He said much of the boost that the markets had gotten was attributable to the “extraordinary accomodative monetary policies and fiscal policies that governments around the world … have been throwing at their ecoomies.”

“Surely we’ve had just about all we’re gonna get of those,” Carnell said. “Any further dollops of stimulus are gonna be fairly marginal.”

On the economic data front, China’s inflation for April released by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics missed expectations. The consumer price index for April rose 3.3% year-on-year, versus expectations of a  3.7% increase in a Reuters poll. Meanwhile, China’s producer price index for April declined 3.1% year-on-year, as compared to a 2.6% fall expected in a Reuters poll.

In corporate earnings, Japanese automaker Toyota posted a 1% year-on-year decrease in its operating income for the 2020 fiscal year. In particular, the firm also forecast a 79.5% year-on-year plunge in its operating income for the 2021 fiscal year. Shares of Toyota in Japan slipped 1.97% on Tuesday.

“There is concern that there will be a sharp decline in many countries and regions due to the impact of COVID-19. The production and sales of automobiles have already been greatly affected. We hope that the outbreak will be contained as early as possible,and the entire Toyota group will work as one to deal with this issue,” Toyota said in its earnings report.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 100.14 after rising from levels below 100 seen yesterday.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.57 per dollar after seeing an earlier low of 107.69. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.648 after its decline from levels above $0.654 yesterday.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 1.79% to $30.16 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also rose 2.78% to $24.81 per barrel.

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