Asian stocks fell, paring yesterday’s biggest rally in a month for the regional benchmark index, as data showed a slowdown in U.S. manufacturing and investors weighed the prospect of a recession in Russia.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.4 percent to 133.86 as of 9:40 a.m. in Tokyo after rising 1.2 percent yesterday, the steepest gain since Feb. 21. Nine of the 10 industry groups on the gauge fell. Banks warned Russia’s economy is at risk of shrinking as the world’s leading industrial powers threaten further sanctions to deter it from invading other parts of Ukraine after the annexation of Crimea.
The U.S. manufacturing report “is a little bit weaker, but nothing changed much,” said Donald Williams, Sydney-based chief investment officer at Platypus Asset Management Ltd. that manages about $1.6 billion. “It’s a grinding recovery and some of the data are better than expected and some are worse.”