Asia Stocks Advance to Pare Worst Quarter Since Financial Crisis

Asian stocks rose on the final day of the quarter, tracking a late rally in U.S. shares, as the regional benchmark index headed for its worst three months since the financial crisis.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.3 percent to 121.40 as of 9:00 a.m. in Tokyo. The measure has slumped 17 percent since the end of June, on course for the biggest drop since the quarter ended September 2008. It’s down 6.6 percent for the month.

Stocks have been volatile in recent weeks amid confusion over the Federal Reserve’s position on raising interest rates and concern the slowdown in China’s economy will curb demand for commodities and impact global growth. China starts a five-day holiday Thursday.

Japan’s Topix index advanced 1.5 percent after tumbling 4.4 percent on Tuesday. South Korea’s Kospi index lost 1.4 percent today as it reopened from a two-day holiday. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.1 percent, and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slid 0.4 percent.

Futures on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.7 percent in most recent trading, while those on the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index added 0.9 percent. The H-share gauge slid 3 percent on Tuesday, the biggest loss in a month, while the Hang Seng measure dropped 3 percent to a two-year low.

Source : Bloomberg

MARKET

Hong Kong Hang Seng Index Plunges Most Since Financial Crisis

Hong Kong’s benchmark stock gauge plunged the most since the global financial crisis as an equity rout in mainland China rippled across Asia.

The Hang Seng Index fell 5.8 percent to 23,516.56 at the close today, the biggest drop since November 2008, after slumping as much as 8.6 percent. All but one stock on the 50-member gauge slid amid trading volume 148 percent higher than the 30-day average. A measure of Asian shares headed for its steepest drop in two years.

Financial and property companies led declines in Hong Kong today, with China Life Insurance Co. falling 8.8 percent and China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd. tumbling 10 percent. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, also known as the H-share gauge, dropped 6.1 percent after following mainland shares into a bear market on Tuesday with a 20 percent retreat from a May high. The Shanghai Composite Index closed 5.9 percent lower, extending its decline from a June 12 high to 32 percent.

The decline dragged the Hang Seng gauge to 9.8 times reported earnings, the cheapest relative to the MSCI All-Country World Index since 2003, when the city was gripped by the SARS virus which killed 300 people and caused economic losses totaling HK$ 3.8 billion ($ 490 million) in two months.

Source: Bloomberg

MARKET