Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index retreating from a four-month high, as Japanese shares slid on a stronger yen and U.S. earnings and durable-goods orders disappointed investors.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.4 percent to 141.81 as of 9:00 a.m. in Tokyo after climbing yesterday to its highest close since Sept. 25. Japan’s Topix index slid 0.7 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index sank 1.3 percent yesterday, while the Nasdaq 100 Index tumbled 2.6 percent for the biggest drop since April as results for companies from Caterpillar Inc. to Microsoft Corp. missed estimates and orders for business equipment unexpectedly fell for a fourth month in December.
“We may see some fairly substantial earnings downgrades in the U.S.,” Tim Schroeders, a portfolio manager who helps oversee $1 billion in equities at Pengana Capital Ltd. in Melbourne, said by phone. “That’s going to put a dampener on the U.S. market and spread globally. If weaker earnings does become a trend, we’ll be in for more volatility.”
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