Asian stocks fall on China policy

Asian stocks fall on China policy

Hong Kong: Most Asian stocks fell as concern that China won’t ease monetary policy even amid slowing economic growth and lower earnings offset optimism for the global outlook after US consumer confidence improved.

China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co., the nation’s third largest insurer, slid 1.2% in Hong Kong after its profit slumped. Country Garden Holdings Co., a Chinese builder of apartments, fell 1.1% as rising house prices sparked concern China will tighten property curbs. LG Innotek, a cellular phone parts maker, climbed 6.1% in Seoul after a report that sales of its camera modules will grow.

China is still trying to bottom out, said Khiem Do, the Hong Kong-based head of Asian multi-asset strategy at Baring Asset Management (Asia) Ltd, which oversees about $8 billion. Earnings in Asia have mostly surprised on the downside rather than the upside. They’ve mostly been fairly disappointing. US surprises tend to be the driver of equity markets around the world.

Of the 429 firms in the Asia-Pacific index that have reported quarterly earnings since 1 July, and for which Bloomberg has estimates, about 55% have failed to meet projections, according to Bloomberg.

The measure completed a third straight week of advance last week, the longest streak since March, amid optimism policymakers will take more steps to promote growth.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.1%. South Korea’s Kospi Index was little changed, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 0.1% and China’s Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.4%. Markets in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia are shut for holidays.

The Asian regional benchmark index, which includes firms from emerging countries, retreated 6.4% from a 29 February high through last week amid concern China’s economy is slowing and Europe’s debt crisis is deepening. Stocks on the measure were valued at 12.6 times estimated earnings on average, against 13.7 times for the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index and 11.7 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.