Sydney/Hong Kong: Asian stocks dropped from a three- week high. Tokyo Electric Power Co. led Japanese power producers lower on concern about mismanagement in the industry.
“Successive scandals involving power producers have been coming to light,’’ said Hideyuki Ookoshi, who oversees $365 million (Rs1,591 crore) at Chiba-Gin Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “There’s concern more scandals will emerge, and that’s causing the shares to be sold off.’’
Woodside Petroleum Ltd led a measure of energy stocks higher after crude-oil prices climbed for a fifth day.
The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index slid 0.2% to 145.71 as of 10:49 am in Tokyo, sliding from its highest since 27 February. The benchmark rallied 3.3% last week, the first weekly gain since a rout that began last month wiped $3.3 trillion from the value of global markets.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average slipped 0.1% to 17,468.47. The broader Topix index dropped 0.4%. Markets open for trading elsewhere rose. China’s Shanghai and Shenzhen 300 Index climbed 0.4%, set for a record high.
Tokyo Electric, Japan’s No. 1 power producer, slid 2.1% to 4,240 yen. Kansai Electric Power Co., the second largest, fell 2.9% to 3,710 yen.
Tokyo Electric said on 22 March an accident that may have occurred at its Fukushima Daiichi plant in 1978 could have caused a nuclear chain reaction. Hokuriku Electric Power Co. was ordered to halt operations at its Shika No. 1 reactor on 15 March after the company said it covered up an accident eight years ago.
“Power companies dropped after reports on safety breaches renewed concern their risk management attitude hasn’t improved enough,’’ said Shuichi Hida, who helps oversee $850 million in assets at Plaza Asset Management Co. in Tokyo.
Woodside, Australia’s second-biggest oil producer, rose 2.4% to A$37.83. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., Asia’s largest refiner, rose 0.8% to HK$6.53.
Crude oil rose 1% to $62.28 in New York on 23 March, the highest close for the front-month oil contract since 22 December. Oil was recently at $62.59 in after-hours trading.
“The resources stocks make up a significant part of the market and in the absence of overarching economic or earnings news they tend to rise in line with commodities prices, like oil,’’ said Hans Kunnen, who helps manage $70 billion at Colonial First State Investment Management Australia Ltd. in Sydney.
The Hang Seng Index added 37.11, or 0.2%, to 19,729.75 at 10:32 am in Hong Kong. About the same number of stocks rose as fell on the 38-member measure. March futures were little changed at 19,704.
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, which tracks the so- called H shares of 41 mainland companies, advanced 0.3% to 9,508.54.
Cnooc, China’s largest offshore oil producer, gained 5 cents, or 0.8%, to HK$6.52. Deutsche Bank’s Hurd raised his call on the stock to “buy” from “hold.”
The Straits Times Index added 5.54, or 0.2%, to 3211.36 as of 9:29 am local time. Almost three stocks rose for every two that fell. The March futures contract was little changed at 394.7.
CapitaLand, Southeast Asia’s largest property developer, added 10 cents, or 1.3%, to S$7.85. It agreed to sell Temasek Tower, a building in Singapore’s downtown business district for S$1.04 billion ($685 million), CapitaLand said. It expects to book a gain of about S$427 million, the company said.
The Singapore Property Equities Index, which tracks 22 real estate developers in the city, rose 1.2%, the biggest gainer among nine industry groups. CapitaLand and its partner Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd said on 21 March that units at its Orchard Residences project sold at prices exceeding a record S$4,000 a square foot.
About 85% of Lippo Land’s 231-unit The Trillium development near the city’s downtown was sold at an average price of more than S$1,700 a square foot, the Business Times reported today, citing the company’s executive director Thio Gim Hock. The project will be officially open for sales on 31 March, the newspaper said.
City Developments Ltd, Singapore’s second-largest developer, added 20 cents, or 1.4%, to S$14.40. Keppel Land Ltd, the third largest, rose 5 cents, or 0.5%, to S$49.55. Wing Tai Holdings Ltd, a real estate company, climbed 2 cents, or 0.7%, to S$2.84.