Asian Equities Mainly Lower

Asian stocks fell with U.S. index futures as a Chinese manufacturing gauge dropped, American holiday spending slowed and oil tumbled to a five-year low. Malaysia’s ringgit headed for the biggest two-day retreat since 1998 and precious metals slumped.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) fell 0.7 percent by 11:42 a.m. in Tokyo, with Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures dropping 0.4 percent. West Texas Intermediate crude lost 2.1 percent to $64.74 a barrel, sending Australian energy stocks toward the biggest three-day loss since the global financial crisis. Gold sank as Swiss voters rejected a measure to force the central bank to hold bullion. The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index fell to a four-year low as the ringgit weakened 1.2 percent.

Collapsing oil prices are damping inflation expectations and pushing global commodity indexes to multi-year lows. U.S. consumers cut spending by an estimated 11 percent over the post-Thanksgiving weekend. China’s official factory index fell to 50.3 for November, below the 50.5 reading projected by economists, while a private gauge from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics came in at 50, the border between expansion and contraction .


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