Gobal Markets: Asian shares retreat on caution ahead of Chinese data

Jan 17 2013, 13:49 IST
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Asian shares fell on Thursday, erasing earlier gains amid worries about the global growth outlook. (Reuters) Asian shares fell on Thursday, erasing earlier gains amid worries about the global growth outlook. (Reuters)
SummaryAsian shares fell on Thursday, erasing earlier gains amid worries about the global growth outlook.

Asian shares fell on Thursday, erasing earlier gains amid worries about the global growth outlook as investors remained cautious ahead of Chinese data on Friday.

The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.2 percent, extending declines for a third consecutive session, led by a slump in Chinese shares. The index's financial sector was down 0.2 percent despite robust earnings reports overnight from Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase.

The Shanghai Composite Index slid 1 percent, retreating further from a 7-1/2-month high and wiping earlier gains in Hong Kong which fell 0.1 percent.

Shares of Japanese suppliers of Dreamliner declined after U.S. regulators said it would temporarily ground Boeing Co's 787s after battery failures caused one of the Dreamliner passenger jets to make an emergency landing in Japan.

GS Yuasa Corp, which makes the batteries for Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner, tumbled 5 percent while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, which makes the wings, dropped 0.6 percent.

Growth-sensitive sectors dented Hong Kong shares ahead of a slew of key Chinese economic data including fourth-quarter GDP, December industrial output, retail sales and house price, which will offer clues on the health of Asia's biggest economy.

"I think people are still just taking profit from the out-sized jump in the A-share market earlier this week," said Hong Hao, chief equity strategist at Bank of Communication International Securities, referring to onshore Chinese shares where foreign investors have limited access.

"We are early in this rotation into cyclicals at the start of a new economic cycle in China, so some are still operating as in a bear market, selling into strength and clocking profits by rotating swiftly between sectors," Hong added.

Australian shares bucked the general bear trend and added 0.4 percent to a 20-month closing high, after data showing an unexpected fall in Australian employment in December raised the chances for another interest rate cut. The prospect of further policy easing sent the Australian dollar down to session lows of $1.0494 from $1.0560 before the data.

Investor concerns about the global economy flared again after the World Bank on Wednesday sharply cut its outlook for world growth this year.

European markets are seen easing, with financial spread-betters predicting London's FTSE 100, Paris's CAC-40 and Frankfurt's DAX would open down as much as 0.2 percent. A 0.1 percent fall in U.S. stock futures hinted at a weak start on Wall Street. YEN NERVOUS

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