Asian stocks declined, with the regional benchmark index heading for its steepest three-day loss in five months, as concern that the global economic recovery is faltering spurred investors to sell riskier assets.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 1.4 percent to 135.77 as of 9:25 a.m. in Tokyo, extending four straight weekly declines and poised for its lowest close since Sept. 9. Japan’s Topix index sank 2.6 percent, with markets in Hong Kong and China yet to open. Global stocks tumbled the most since June on Jan. 24 as a sell-off in emerging-market currencies prompted investors to seek havens in Treasuries and the Japanese yen.
The Asia-Pacific equity gauge is set for its biggest monthly decline since June after a private gauge of China’s manufacturing dropped to a six-month low in January, adding to signs growth in the world’s second-largest economy is slowing. Shares on the measure traded at 13 times estimated earnings on Jan. 24, compared with 15.2 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 13.7 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
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