SINGAPORE: Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index heading for its biggest decline in almost six months, after US employers added fewer jobs than forecast and amid growing concern over Europe’s debt crisis after Socialist Francois Hollande was elected president of France.
Samsung Electronics Co, the world’s No. 1 maker of mobile phones by sales, dropped 2.5% in Seoul. Canon Inc, a camera maker that depends on Europe for almost a third of its sales, slipped 1.7% in Tokyo.
BHP Billiton Ltd, the world’s largest mining company and Australia’s biggest oil producer, lost 3% as crude oil and copper futures fell.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 2.1% to 121.50 as of 10:22 a.m. in Tokyo, heading for its biggest drop since Nov 10. About 19 shares dropped for each that rose on the gauge.
The measure fell 0.2% last week after Australia’s central bank cut its economic growth forecast and US services industries expanded less than forecast, sparking concern the global recovery may be faltering.
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average sank 2.6% as Japanese markets resumed trading following a four-day weekend. South Korea’s Kospi Index slid 1.7% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 1.5%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index declined 2%.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 1% today. The index sank 1.6% in New York on May 4 after a report showed payrolls climbed 115,000 in April, the smallest gain in six months and below economists’ estimates for a 160,000 advance.
The jobless rate unexpectedly fell to a three-year low of 8.1% as people left the labor force. Concern about Europe’s debt crisis also pushed stocks lower as services and manufacturing output in the euro region shrank.
The euro dropped to its lowest level against the yen in almost three months low as Socialist Hollande was elected president and Greek voters flocked to anti-bailout parties, stoking concern austerity efforts in Europe may be derailed.
Francois Hollande, the first Socialist in 17 years to control Europe’s second-biggest economy, pledged to push for less austerity. (Bloomberg/T06)