Asian stocks fell for a fourth day after data signaled Chinese manufacturing shrank last month for the first time in more than two years and the U.S. economy grew less than forecast.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index retreated 0.3 percent to 139.98 as of 9:01 a.m. in Tokyo, before markets opened in China and Hong Kong. The measure gained 1.8 percent in January, rebounding from two months of losses.
China’s official purchasing managers’ index showed an unexpected contraction, data at the weekend showed, boosting prospects Asia’s largest economy will add to stimulus amid a wave of global monetary easing. The U.S. economy expanded at a slower pace than forecast in the fourth quarter as cooling business investment, a slump in government outlays and a widening trade gap took some of the luster off the biggest gain in consumer spending in almost nine years.