Singapore: Asian stock markets dropped Friday as weak Chinese and euro-zone manufacturing data sparked fresh concerns about the global growth outlook, sending resource and exporter stocks skidding amid a decline in copper and oil prices.
The safe-haven Japanese yen and US dollar were consolidating after their recent strong gains, as fresh evidence of slowing global growth had traders scrambling to cut their exposure to riskier assets. The regional mood was dimmed by losses in Wall Street and European stock markets Thursday, after poor Chinese manufacturing data was followed by disappointing euro-zone manufacturing activity.
"A lot of the rally in equities this year has been premised on global growth surprises, which have started rolling over, so people are taking profits," said IG Markets institutional dealer Chris Weston in Sydney. "A lot of funds will need to rebalance because US equities had a massive outperformance against bonds this quarter. The chances of a correction have heightened, but I don't expect this to turn into an all-out risk-off."
Japan's Nikkei Stock Average, Australia's S&P/ASX 200, South Korea's Kospi Composite and New Zealand's NZX-50 were all down.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up six points in screen trade.
Exporters, a key source of sustenance for much Asia's economies, underperformed in Tokyo and Seoul.
Japanese exporters bore the brunt of the selling amid a sharp rise in the yen over the past 24 hours. Toyota Motor fell 1.6 percent, Honda Motor declined 2.1 percent and Sony slumped 2.8 percent.
In Seoul, Samsung Electronics lost 0.6%, LG Electronics dropped 1.2 percent and Hyundai Motors fell 1.3 percent.
First Published: Friday, March 23, 2012, 08:42