Asia Stocks Retreat From Highest Close This Year; CSPC Declines

May 27, 2014 6:23 am ET

May 27 (Bloomberg) -- Asian stocks slipped for the first time in four days amid thin trading, after the regional equity index yesterday climbed to the highest level this year.

CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd. slumped 6.7 percent in Hong Kong after a stakeholder agreed to sell the company’s shares at a discount. Samsung Electronics Co. slid 1.1 percent in Seoul, the biggest drag on the regional gauge. Inspur International Ltd. soared 9.4 percent in Hong Kong after people familiar with the matter said banks may try servers made by the company’s parent as the Chinese government pushes for the removal of those made by International Business Machines Corp.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.2 percent to 141.27 at 6:10 p.m. in Hong Kong after yesterday reaching its highest close since Dec. 3. Trading volume in China, Hong Kong and Singapore was subdued before U.S. data that may cast light on the health of the world’s largest economy.

“The majority of investors are content to sit on their hands until the next signal emerges,” said William Leys, a sales trader at CMC Markets Ltd. in Sydney. “They may not need to wait too long, with consumer confidence figures and durable goods orders due out of the U.S. tonight.”

The Asia-Pacific gauge rebounded 8.7 percent through yesterday from this year’s low in February amid optimism the U.S. economy can withstand a reduction in stimulus and that Chinese policy makers will step in to bolster slowing growth.

China Premier Li Keqiang’s comments last week that the nation will fine-tune policy when needed showed a significant change in his tone, and may lead to incremental stimulus such as looser borrowing conditions and support for the property industry, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economists led by Yu Song wrote in a note dated yesterday.

Regional Indexes

Japan’s Topix index added less than 0.1 percent as the yen traded little changed at 101.91 per dollar. South Korea’s Kospi index lost 0.6 percent as Samsung declined 1.1 percent to 1,407,000 won. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slipped 0.2 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost 0.1 percent, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland shares traded in the city fell 0.4 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.3 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex added 0.2 percent and Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 0.3 percent. India’s S&P BSE Sensex retreated from a record, falling 0.9 percent for its first decline in four days.

CSPC Pharmaceutical

CSPC Pharmaceutical dropped 6.7 percent to HK$6.28. Joyful Horizon agreed to sell a 105.9-million share stake in the firm to a company owned by CSPC’s chairman and 600 million shares to other unnamed parties at HK$6.25 each.

Inspur climbed 9.4 percent to HK$1.52. The Chinese government is pushing domestic banks to remove high-end servers made by IBM and replace them with a local brand, according to people familiar with the matter, in an escalation of the dispute with the U.S. over spying claims. China Postal Savings Bank Co. is using servers made by Inspur Group Ltd. as part of a trial program that began in March 2013, the people said. The government plans to expand that trial to other banks, they said.

--With assistance from Yoshiaki Nohara in Tokyo.