Asian markets closed lower Tuesday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 1.4% to 19,497 and China's Shanghai Composite Index inched down 0.9% to 2,568. In Japan the Nikkei 225 Index slid 0.6% to end the day at 9,712.
China's roaring economy is showing signs of slowing down -- at least according to the Purchasing Managers' Index numbers released today by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing. The figures indicate that the increase in factory output, the rate of hiring and new orders declined in May. Data from HSBC's research also supported the evidence of a cool-down with their China Manufacturing PMI falling 2.5 points to its lowest in a year, according to the Financial Times.
The numbers may indicate that there is less demand for products both at home and abroad. In China today, shares of air-conditioner and refrigeration units closed lower. Jiangsu Shuangliang Air-Conditioning Equipment tumbled the maximum 10%, Dailan Refrigeration slumped 6.7%, Harbin Air conditioning fell 3.5% and Qingdao Haier lost 2%. Gree Electric Appliances, which has a female president who has reportedly adopted more flexible sales strategies, slid only 1.2%. "Women are always looking at the positive aspects of issues, which makes them more stress-resistant than men. That's very crucial during periods of economic uncertainty," Dong Mingzhu, president of Gree Electric Appliances told People's Daily.
Dalian Dayang Trands, another Chinese company with a female chairwoman, slid 2.8%. The suitmaker got a big boost when Warren Buffett sang its praises last year, announcing he owned nine of their suits. Other celebrity clients include Bill Gates and President Hu Jintao. Even in this harsh economic environment, Chairwoman Li Guilian plans to open outlets in New York.
Chinese real estate shares headed south today as restrictions on property investments continue to threaten prices. Poly Real Estate dropped 3%, Gemdale sank 2.5% and China Vanke dipped 0.7%.
In Hong Kong, retail sales in the Special Administrative Region are up nearly 16% over last year. But this wasn't reflected in today's trading. Esprit, which gets the majority of its revenue from European markets, sank 6.3%, while Li & Fung, which sources clothing for the likes of Target and Wal-Mart rose 0.4%. Eternite, a high-end Hong Kong jewelry company dived 5.7% and King Fook, a high street jewelry and trinket shop and bullion trader, slipped 1.2%.
Hong Kong-listed commodity companies closed lower today on the news of a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing. Aluminum Corp. of China, also known as Chalco, tumbled 4.7% and Jiangxi Copper fell 3.5%.
Builders with projects on the Mainland also sank. China Resource Land dived 5.2% and China Overseas retreated 4.7%. Guangzhou R&F Properties, which develops property in Guangzhou and Beijing slid 4.4%.
In Japan, a mass of false sell orders for Nikkei 225 Stock Average futures sent by Deutsche Bank sent the market plunging only moments after it opened, according to Bloomberg. The error was corrected, but shares in exporters declined as the Euro posted further declines. Toyota Boshoku, which makes car parts, tumbled 5.4% and Konica Minolta, heavily dependent on the European market, declined 2.9%. Hitachi slumped 3.5% and Sony was down 1%.
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