Thursday, May 17, 2012

Asian stock market down may 18 2012

Asian stock market down may 18 2012 : Asian stocks fell, erasing this year’s gains, and South Korea’s won weakened on signs that Europe’s debt crisis is worsening and after an unexpected contraction in a U.S. manufacturing gauge. Japan’s 10-year bond yield dropped, matching the lowest level since October 2010.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 1.5 percent as of 9:21 a.m. in Tokyo and is down 0.1 percent this year. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures added 0.2 percent. The euro dropped to a four-month low, heading for a third weekly decline, and South Korea’s won lost 0.9 percent. Japan’s 10-year-note yield fell 2.5 basis points to 0.82 percent, while similar-maturity Treasury yields were little changed at 1.70 percent after yesterday approaching a record low reached in September. Oil traded near the lowest close in six months.

Moody’s Investors Service lowered debt ratings at 16 Spanish banks, citing a recession and mounting loan losses, while Greece’s credit rating was reduced one level by Fitch Ratings on concern the country may not be able to sustain membership in the euro area. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s general economic index (MXAP) slid to minus 5.8 in May, indicating an unexpected contraction in manufacturing. Investors will get data later today on Chinese property prices for April.

“The market’s very concerned about contagion and Spain probably being the biggest focus of attention after Greece,” said Thomas Averill, the managing director in Sydney at Rochford Capital, a currency and interest-rate risk-management company.

The euro touched $1.2666 before trading at $1.2695. The 17- nation currency has fallen 1.7 percent since May 11, set for its third weekly loss, the longest string of declines since the period ending Jan. 13.

Greece was cut to CCC from B-, according to a statement late yesterday from Fitch. The ratings for Banco Santander SA and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, Spain’s biggest lenders, were reduced three levels by Moody’s.

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