Asian stocks fell, led by Hong Kong shares, and U.S. equity-index futures slid after a bigger-than-estimated drop in a Chinese manufacturing gauge. The dollar climbed, rising to its strongest level in more than seven years versus the yen.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) lost 0.3 percent by 10:57 a.m. in Tokyo, with the Hang Seng Index dropping 0.2 percent. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) and Rio Tinto Ltd., the world’s two largest mining companies, retreated toward their lowest levels in more than a year amid a rout in iron ore prices. The greenback traded at 118.12 yen after touching its highest level since Aug. 14, 2007. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures lost 0.2 percent. Gold retreated 0.2 percent.
The so called flash purchasing managers’ index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics fell to 50, the borderline between expansion and contraction, today. Iron ore, Australia’s biggest export, has slumped to a five-year low on concern demand from China is waning as its economy slows. While the Bank of Japan is maintaining record stimulus amid a recession there, Federal Reserve meeting minutes issued yesterday showed U.S. policy makers debated their commitment to near-zero interest rates.