Sydney: Most Asian stocks fell, dragging the regional benchmark index lower for a second day, after US consumer confidence unexpectedly dropped this month.

Industrial Bank of Korea sank 4.2% as the South Korea government sells 13.2 million of shares in the lender. BHP Billiton Ltd. lost 1.2% in Sydney after copper prices fell for the first time in more than a week. Rakuten Inc. surged 9.6% after the website operator said it will increase its dividend following a plan to move its listing to the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.1% to 141.53 as of 9:39 am in Hong Kong as five shares fell for every four that rose. The gauge gained 9.5% this year through on Tuesday as central banks around the world pledged to leave interest rates near record lows for a prolonged period.

Data on balance still looks murky, Matthew Sherwood, head of investment markets research in Sydney at Perpetual Ltd., which manages about $25 billion, said by e-mail. Most importantly, there was a surprise decline in the Conference Board’s measure of consumer confidence.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index on Tuesday traded at 13.9 times estimated earnings, close to the multiple of 14 reached on 18 November, which was the highest since May, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares to a current multiple of 16.3 on the S&P 500 and 15.1 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Regional gauges

Japan’s Topix index fell 0.2%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.2% and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index was little changed. South Korea’s Kospi index lost 0.4%. Singapore’s Straits Times Index slipped 0.1% and Taiwan’s Taiex Index rose 0.6%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 0.1% and China’s Shanghai Composite was little changed.

More than $8 trillion has been added to the value of global equities this year, the biggest increase since 2009, as central banks took steps to shore up economies worldwide. The S&P 500 is poised for its best annual performance since 1998, with an increase of 26.4% through Tuesday. Three rounds of Fed bond purchase programs have helped push the S&P 500 up 166% from a bear-market low reached in 2009.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell to 70.4 in November from a revised 72.4 in October, which was stronger than initially estimated, the New York-based private research group said on Tuesday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 78 economists called for a November reading of 72.6.

Bank of Japan

Sayuri Shirai, a Bank of Japan board member who voted against a report at the bank’s 31 October meeting, speaks to reporters on Wednesday in Tokushima.

Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda helped drive a 46% surge in Japan’s Topix this year by maintaining monetary easing as he and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sought to jolt the nation out of 15 years of deflation. The Topix is the best performing of 24 developed markets tracked by Bloomberg, on course for its biggest annual advance since 1999.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today. US stocks pared gains in the final minutes of trading on Tuesday before changes in MSCI Inc. indexes, offsetting a rally among homebuilders and technology shares. The Nasdaq Composite Index topped 4,000 for first time in 13 years. The S&P 500 added less than 0.1% to 1,802.75, after earlier rising as much as 0.3%.

The US flew two unarmed B-52 bombers into a disputed air- defense zone claimed by China, the first test of China’s response amid escalating tensions in the region that have implications for international air travel.

The flight of bombers into China’s newly claimed zone occurred without incident, according to a US defense official. The area includes three islands in the East China Sea that are owned by Japan, a major US ally, and have been at the center of a dispute between Asia’s two biggest economies. BLOOMBERG

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