Hong Kong: BHP Billiton Ltd and Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. declined after metals prices slumped.
Sumitomo Metal, Japan’s largest nickel miner, posted its biggest drop in almost seven weeks, while BHP, the world’s largest mining company, slid 2.5%. Japanese steelmakers including Nippon Steel Corp. fell after Tokyo Tekko Co. forecast a drop in net income. Woodside Petroleum Ltd led oil producers higher on a surge in the price of crude.
MSCI’s Asia-Pacific Index fell 0.4% to 147.55 at 11:07 am in Tokyo, taking its decline this week to 0.6%. A measure of materials stocks, including BHP and Sumitomo Metal, weighed the most on the benchmark today.
“Metals were markedly lower and their influence is evident’’ on resources stocks, said Michael Birch, who helps manage $133 million (Rs544 crore) at Wallace Funds Management in Sydney. “BHP and other miners have reached record highs this month so a breather was due.’’
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 0.2% to 17,466.71, while Australia’s S&P/200 Index slid 0.8%. Benchmarks rose only in New Zealand, Taiwan and the Philippines. Indonesia’s stock market is close for a public holiday.
U.S. stocks yesterday fell on renewed concerns the housing market will slow economic growth. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average both lost 0.1%.
BHP, the world’s biggest mining company by value, fell 2.5% to A$30.69. Rio Tinto Group, the second biggest, slid 1.1% to A$91.30. Sumitomo Metal Mining, Japan’s biggest nickel producer, lost 3.9% to 2,730 yen, its biggest drop since 2 April.
A measure of six metals traded on the London Metal Exchange, including copper and zinc, slumped 3.3% yesterday. Copper slid 4.7%, zinc dropped 4.7% and nickel fell 3.2%. Zinifex Ltd, the world’s second-biggest zinc producer, dropped 1.3% to A$17.33 in Sydney.
Nippon Steel, the worlds’ No. 2 maker of the alloy, lost 2.8% to 838 yen. Tokyo Tekko, a producer of steel bars, tumbled 5.3% to 786 yen. Nippon Steel forecast on 27 April net income will slip 0.3% this year.
“Tokyo Tekko and other steelmakers have been giving conservative outlooks for the current year,’’ said Mitsushige Akino, who oversees the equivalent of $470 million at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co. in Tokyo. “Some investors are taking those forecasts at face value, leading to the shares being sold.’’
Crude Oil Climbs
Oil producers rose along with prices of crude. Inpex Holdings Inc., Japan’s largest oil explorer, jumped 4.9% to 1.07 million yen. Santos Ltd., Australia’s third-biggest oil producer, added 1% to A$12.93.
The price of oil yesterday jumped 3.7% to settle at $64.86 a barrel in New York. The climb was the most since 23 April. Oil was recently at $64.98 in after-hours trading.
Separately, Credit Saison Co., a Japanese credit card issuer, plunged 4.6% to 3,340 yen after saying net income fell 65 percent in the year ended 31 March. Consumer lenders are strengthening loan screenings, resulting in a drop in contracts by 17 percentage points in March, the Nikkei newspaper reported.