Fall in metals, crude prices hits Asian stocks

March 24 | Updated: Mar 25 2005, 05:30am hrs
Asian stocks dropped, led by commodities-related companies such as BHP Billiton and PetroChina Co, after a slump in prices of metals and crude oil raised concerns that earnings growth will slow. I dont think commodities prices are sustainable, said George Raftopulos, who helps manage the equivalent of $655 million at Constellation Capital Management in Sydney. That makes the outlook for mining stocks uncertain enough for some to consider bailing out of the shares.

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia Pacific Index, which measures 945 stocks, lost 1% to 100.61 at 6:30 pm in Tokyo. Materials-related stocks accounted for almost a fifth of the decline. The benchmark fell for a fourth day, its longest losing stretch since a five-day drop ended January 7.

Japans Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 0.1% to 11,745.97. South Koreas Kospi index slid 1.1%, led by shipbuilders such as Hyundai Heavy Industries Co, after Macquarie Securities Ltd lowered its recommendation on the industry.