Asian Stocks Fall for Fourth Week

Asian stocks fell, sending the region's benchmark index lower for a fourth week, as record oil and slowing growth dent profits.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped for a 12th day, the longest losing streak in 54 years.

The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index declined 0.1 percent to 132.47 at 12:08 p.m. Tokyo time, the lowest since March 17. The index's four-week, 12 percent retreat is its longest losing streak since the period ended Feb. 8.

Japan's Nikkei 225 slid 0.3 percent to 13,224.53, capping a 12-day, 8.4 percent slump. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index dropped 2.5 percent, Asia's largest decline, after trading resumed in Malaysia following a one-day suspension because of a systems failure. All Asian benchmark indexes declined this week, except Vietnam.

Most U.S. stocks fell yesterday, completing the longest streak of weekly declines in four years, after Nvidia Corp. cut its sales forecast. Markets are closed today for a holiday.

Kansai, Japan's second-largest power producer by market value, lost 1.4 percent to 2,465 yen. Chubu Electric Power Co. fell 1.6 percent to 2,540 yen. Tenaga Nasional Bhd., a Malaysian state-controlled power producer, dropped 2.5 percent to 7.80 ringgit.

Crude oil rose 1.2 percent to $145.29 a barrel yesterday in New York and touched a record high of $145.85 during the day. Futures have more than doubled from a year earlier.

MSCI's Asian index fell 13 percent in the first half, the worst start since 1992, as $400 billion in bank writedowns and credit-related losses and rising oil prices offset efforts by central banks to bolster confidence in financial markets.

Asian Stocks Fall for Fourth Week, Bloomberg
7/3/2008 8:58:47 PM