Hong Kong: Asian stocks fell, led by mining companies such as BHP Billiton Ltd and Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. after the prices of metals including copper and nickel dropped.
“With mining shares you’re betting on the direction of metals, and that’s far from a sure thing,’’ said Angus Gluskie, who helps manage about $380 million (Rs1,549 crore) at White Funds Management in Sydney. “There is risk they will fall further.’’
The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index dropped 0.5% to 148.94 at 10:42 am in Tokyo. Producers of raw materials accounted for 23% of the drop.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.9% to 17,527.87, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index lost 0.6%. The region’s key stock benchmarks all fell, except in China, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Fanuc Ltd paced declines in Japan after company machinery orders unexpectedly declined in March. Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. dropped on concern costs will increase after Dongkuk Steel Mill Co. said it will raise ship-plate prices.
BHP, the world’s biggest mining company by market value, declined 1.5% to A$30.79. Rio Tinto Group, the second biggest, slid 1.8% to A$91.08. Sumitomo Metal Mining, Japan’s No. 1 nickel producer, fell 2.6% to 2,825 yen.
The London Metal Exchange’s combined index of copper, aluminum, lead, tin, zinc and nickel fell 2.5% to a two- week low. Copper dropped 3.1%, nickel slid 2.9% and zinc lost 2.5%.
Fanuc, the world’s largest maker of industrial robots, lost 1.2% to 11,180 yen. Mitsubishi Electric Co., a maker of robots and factory machinery, slumped 2% to 4,010 yen.
Japan’s non-government machinery orders, excluding shipping and utilities, fell 4.5% in March from the previous month, its Cabinet Office said. The median estimate of 38 economist surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 1.5% increase.
“That was a very, very negative figure,’’ said Masaki Iso, who oversees about $7.3 billion as head of Japanese equities at Yasuda Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “Investors might be speculating the Japanese economy is weakening.’’
South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy, the world’s biggest shipbuilder, fell 3.1% to 264,500 won. Samsung Heavy Industries Co., the second largest, lost 3.4% to 34,250 won.
Dongkuk Steel will raise ship-plate prices by 7.9% starting 21 May, it said yesterday in a statement. Dongkuk Steel, South Korea’s third-largest steelmaker, advanced 0.7% to 30,550 won.