Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index headed for a third day of losses, after theEuropean Central Bank failed to reassure investors on immediate action to support growth and a surge in Spanish bond yields added to concern about the region’s debt crisis.
Sharp Corp. (6753), Japan’s largest maker of liquid-crystal displays, plunged 24 percent after widening its loss forecast and announcing job cuts. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), Australia’s biggest mining company and oil producer, slipped 1.8 percent as crude prices fell after the ECB’s announcement. Sony Corp. (6758), Japan’s No. 1 exporter of consumer electronics, dropped 7 percent after cutting its profit forecast.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 1 percent to 116.88 as of 9:24 a.m. in Tokyo before markets in Hong Kong and China opened. About 12 stocks dropped for each that fell. The measure has gained 0.8 percent this week.
“If Spanish bond yields keep rising like this, it will only increase the chance Spain will apply for assistance,” said Shane Oliver, Sydney-based head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., which has almost $100 billion under management. “What was delivered was a commitment to action, but not immediately. It is a disappointment and it’s a bit of a setback.”