World Economy

Asian Stocks Outlook Grim

Asian Stocks Outlook GrimAsian Stocks Outlook Grim

Asian stocks edged up on Friday and looked likely to end the week with tiny gains, although the outlook remained grim as investors continued dumping emerging market assets as their growth expectations faded. While Thursday’s private and official surveys of China’s factory sector weren’t quite as bad as some had feared, a number pointed out the broader economic outlook for the region remained bleak, Reuters reported.

 “The difference between new orders and inventories is a good leading indicator for industrial production in Asia,” said Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economics research at HSBC in Hong Kong. “Unfortunately, this signals a further deceleration of activity into the year-end.”

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3%, and was on track for a weekly gain of 1.2%. It posted its poorest quarterly performance with a decline of 17%, the worst since 2011.

Hong Kong’s shares led gainer markets with the index rising 2.1% in opening trades. Japan’s Nikkei Average fell 0.6%. China’s markets will be closed until October 8 for the National Golden Week holidays.

In line with falling economic activity, earnings growth expectations for the remainder of the year for MSCI Asia-ex Japan have been slashed to their lowest levels this year, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Net non-resident portfolio flows to emerging markets were negative for the third consecutive month in September, with investors estimated to have pulled out $40 billion worth of funds in the third quarter, making it the worst since December 2008, according to the Institute of International Finance.

In foreign exchange markets, the dollar is holding its own against other currencies before a key US jobs report that could determine the chances of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates before year-end.

The dollar was buying 119.96 yen, broadly flat from late US trading, while the euro was steady at $1.1180.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six rival currencies, was down about 0.1% at 96.080.