Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index on course for its first loss in five days, ahead of Chinese manufacturing data expected to confirm growth is slowing in the world’s second-largest economy.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.2 percent to 137.72 as of 9:27 a.m. in Tokyo. The measure fell 2.4 percent in the quarter ended yesterday while rising 0.1 percent in March. U.S stocks rose yesterday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the economy will need stimulus for “some time.”
“China is the key PMI for me today,” Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners Ltd. in Wellington, said by phone today. “One of the big issues weighing on markets globally has been China’s slowdown and whether or not it leads to stimulus. Yellen has had to back track and her softer stance has been taken well by markets as it shows there are no set-in-stone plans for interest rates.”
Utilities fell the most among the 10 industry groups on the MSCI Asia Pacific measure. Hokkaido Electric Power Co. lost 5.9 percent in Tokyo on a report Development Bank of Japan Inc. will inject 50 billion yen ($485 million) into the utility. Prana Biotechnology Ltd.plunged 75 percent after the Australian biotechnology company’s experimental drug for Alzheimer’s disease failed to help patients in a trial.
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