Asian Stocks Decline as Valuations Climb to 2014 High

Big 5

Asian stocks fell for the first time in three days after valuations on the regional gauge climbed to the highest level this year.

Boart Longyear Ltd. (BLY) fell 13 percent, the most in six weeks, after the Australian mining-services firm posted a first-half loss. China State Construction International Holdings Ltd. declined 2.3 percent in Hong Kong after Morgan Stanley advised selling the shares. Dena Co., a Japanese website owner, surged 3.7 percent. China Modern Dairy Holdings Ltd. climbed 3.5 percent in Hong Kong after sales topped analyst estimates.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) slid 0.1 percent to 148.44 as of 2:25 p.m in Hong Kong. Two weeks of increases pushed the price-earnings ratio on the measure to 13.7 yesterday, the highest since December, as concern eased about conflicts in Iraq, Israel and Ukraine. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 0.5 percent yesterday to a record, touching the 2,000 level for the first time.

“Gravity tends to pull on the markets after they’ve had a strong directional move,” Ric Spooner, Sydney-based chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said in a phone interview. “The market needs good news to sustain it and in the absence of this, tends to drift down. Valuations are fairly full.”

Regional Gauges

Japan’s Topix index fell 0.5 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index declined 0.2 percent. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland stocks traded in the city and Taiwan’s Taiex index were little changed. India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index lost 0.1 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 9 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index slid 0.1 percent.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.1 percent as Boart Longyear tumbled 13 percent to 17 Australian cents. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index added 0.3 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index rose 0.4 percent. Futures on the S&P 500 slipped 0.1 percent, indicating the gauge will retreat from a record high.

Data yesterday showed the pace of new-home sales in the U.S. fell to the slowest in four months in July. Housing has advanced in fits and starts this year, buffeted by tight credit and slow wage growth. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signaled last week that while slack remains in the U.S. labor market, interest rates could be raised sooner than expected.

DeNA climbed 3.7 percent to 1,324 yen after its Kiritani-san x Bike Run game jumped to the top ranking of free Apple Inc. iOS application downloads in Japan.

China State Construction declined 2.3 percent to HK$12.62 after Morgan Stanley rated the shares underweight in new coverage at the brokerage.

Source: Bloomberg