Most Asian Stocks Decline Amid Europe Concerns

Wandrik Panca Adiguna
Wandrik Panca Adiguna - Bisnis.com 20 Desember 2010  |  01:29 WIB

SINGAPORE: Most Asian stocks dropped for the third time in four days as concern mounted Europe's debt crisis will spread and South Korea said it will proceed with an artillery drill that has prompted threats of retaliation from North Korea.

Samsung Electronics Co., the world's second-biggest mobile phone maker that counts Europe as its third-biggest market after China and America, lost 1% in Seoul. Ricoh Co., a producer of office equipment that gets 23% of sales from Europe, fell 1.4% in Tokyo. Santos Ltd., Australia's third-biggest oil and gas producer, jumped 5.5% after agreeing to sell stakes in its Australian gas project to Total SA and Korea Gas Corp. "Worries about whether Europe has a system to handle debt crises may affect Japanese stocks through the currency," said Tomochika Kitaoka, a senior strategist in Tokyo at Mizuho Securities Co. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.1% to 133.49 as of 9:49 a.m. in Tokyo, with about six stocks declining for every five that advanced. South Korea's Kospi Index declined 1.1% after Yonhap News reported that a live-firing drill on the country's Yeonpyeong Island may start at 11 a.m. or noon, without saying where it got the information. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 0.1%, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.2%. European stocks fell on Dec. 17 as an agreement among the region's leaders to create a crisis-management mechanism failed to ease concern that some euro-area nations can't repay their debts. Ireland's credit rating was cut five levels by Moody's Investors Service on Dec. 17. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 11 percent in 2010 through Dec. 17, 2010, compared with gains of 12% by the S&P 500 and 9 percent by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark were valued at 14.7 times estimated earnings on average at the close on Dec. 17, versus 14.6 times for the S&P 500 and 12.3 times for the Stoxx 600. (wiw)

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