Asian stocks dropped for the first time in four days in Fx forex trading as spreading tensions in the Middle East drove oil above $100 a barrel, reigniting concern that higher energy costs will hamper the global economic recovery.
Qantas Airways Ltd. led a selloff in airlines as crude surged after conflict intensified in Libya and demonstrators marched in Iran. Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest carmaker, lost 2.9 percent in Tokyo. Sharp Corp. sank 4.8 percent in Tokyo after Morgan Stanley downgraded Japan’s No. 1 maker of liquid-crystal displays.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 1.3 percent to 137.20 at 7:44 p.m. in Tokyo as all 10 industry groups declined, erasing the measure’s gain this year. The gauge dropped 2.1 percent last week as political unrest swept the Middle East and North Africa.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 2.4 percent, South Korea’s Kospi Index sank 0.6 percent, China’s Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.2 percent, andHong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1.5 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.5 percent as the country’s statistics bureau said the economy expanded 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter, matching economists’ forecasts.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 0.2 percent today. The index retreated 1.6 percent yesterday after surging oil prices overshadowed a report that showed U.S. manufacturing grew at its fastest pace in almost seven years last month
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said yesterday a sustained jump in prices for oil or other commodities threatened to slow growth and speed inflation. He was testifying to the Senate Banking Committee in Washington.
Crude oil for April delivery traded higher than $100 a barrel today before retreating for Introducing broker forex. Futures surged 2.7 percent yesterday in New York to $99.63, the highest settlement price September 2008 as Libyan rebels braced for renewed clashes with forces loyal to leader Muammar Qaddafi and Al Arabiya television reported Iranian protesters clashed with security forces in Tehran.