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Oil, gold drag stocks down to two-year low

Oil, gold drag stocks down to two-year low
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First Published: Wed, Sep 03 2008. 11 48 PM IST
Updated: Wed, Sep 03 2008. 11 48 PM IST
Shanghai/Sydney: Asian stocks fell, sending the region’s benchmark index to a two-year low, after a slump in oil and gold dragged down commodities producers.
Cnooc Ltd, China’s largest offshore oil explorer, and Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Japan’s biggest gold producer, both dropped more than 5%.
Nippon Steel Corp. declined after ArcelorMittal said it will cut South African steel prices. China Huiyuan Juice Group Ltd leapt 164% in Hong Kong after Coca-Cola Co. offered to acquire it.
“There’ll probably be more pain in the near term for commodities,” said Prasad Patkar, who helps manage $1.8 billion (Rs7,974 crore) at Platypus Asset Management in Sydney.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.4% to 120.50, the lowest since 19 July 2006. Raw materials and energy shares had the biggest losses among theindex’s 10 groups, while utility firms led gains. The main index has declined 24% so far this year.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 1.1% after the country’s economic expansion slowed in the second quarter to 0.3%, the weakest pace in two years.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 0.6% to 12,689.59.
Bridgestone Corp., the world’s largest tyre maker, advanced as raw material costs declined. South Korea’s Kospi Index rose 1.4%, led by Hyundai Motor Co. after workers agreed to a pay increase, signalling an end to stoppages.
Most Asian markets open for trading declined, while India’s markets were closed for a holiday. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index lost 2.2% to close at 20,585.06, its lowest since 21 August. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, which tracks so-called H shares of Chinese mainland companies, declined 3.3%.
US stocks fell on Tuesday as a slump in commodity producers overshadowed gains in airlines and consumer companies, sending the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index down 0.4%.
Oil futures fell as much as 8.7% to $105.46, the lowest since 4 April, before closing at $109.71 on Tuesday. Gold futures lost 3%, the biggest drop since11 August.
“Concerns have deepened that commodities and energy prices will drop further,” said Wu Kan, a fund manager in Shanghai at Dazhong Insurance Co.
In Asia on Wednesday, fuel-dependent companies gained on speculation lower energy costs will bolster earnings. Tokyo Electric Power Co., the world’s second biggest non-state buyer of liquefied natural gas, rose 3.9%. Korean Air Lines Ltd, South Korea’s largest carrier, jumped 12%.
“Relief from falling energy prices provides a significant boost to earnings of fuel-dependent companies,” said Patkar.
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Hanny Wan in Hong Kong contributed to this story.
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First Published: Wed, Sep 03 2008. 11 48 PM IST
More Topics: Oil | Gold | Stocks | China | Cnooc Ltd |