Emerging stocks slump to 5-month low

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Singapore - Emerging-market stocks fell to a five-month low as weaker-than-expected manufacturing data from China to the US spurred concern global growth will falter.

The ruble strengthened as Russia scrapped a bond auction.

Lenovo Group Ltd. sank 16 percent after at least five brokerages cut their ratings on the world’s largest maker of personal computers.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index tumbled 3.1 percent in the first trading day since data showed an official gauge of factory output fell to a six-month low.

South African stocks slid for an eighth day, while the rand strengthened 1.2 percent versus the dollar.

The ruble climbed 0.4 percent against the dollar after Russia cancelled a debt sale for the second consecutive week.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index declined 1.1 percent to 916.44, the lowest level since August 29, at 12:15 p.m. in London.

The gauge is off to the worst start of a year on record amid an equities rout that’s erased about $2.9 trillion from global stocks in 2014 due to concerns Chinese growth is slowing, and as the Federal Reserve trimmed monetary stimulus.

Data showing US factories expanded at the slowest pace in eight months in January were “disappointing,” Martial Godet, the head of emerging-market equity and derivatives strategy at BNP Paribas SA in Paris, said by e-mail.

“Markets now price a somewhat weaker level of growth in the US and EM.”

Equity Selloff

A measure of US orders declined by the most since December 1980 as a number of companies said adverse weather slowed business, data showed yesterday.

More than four stocks declined for each that rose on MSCI’s developing-nation gauge today.

Indexes tracking technology and industrial companies retreated at least 1.5 percent.

Naspers Ltd., Africa’s largest media company, decreased 2.6 percent in Johannesburg, pulling the FTSE/JSE Africa All Shares Index down 1.5 percent.

The index has fallen 5.8 percent in the past eight days, the longest stretch of losses since 2004.

Measures in Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea and the Philippines slumped at least 1.2 percent, while markets in mainland China, Taiwan and Vietnam were shut for holidays.

In emerging Europe, Romania’s gauge lost 1.1 percent and Poland’s WIG 30 Index lost 0.9 percent.

Russia’s Micex Index fell for a third day, dropping 0.6 percent.

Energy company OAO Gazprom paced the retreat, losing 1.2 percent.

‘Bit Overdone’

The ruble recovered from a five-year low against the dollar.

The Finance Ministry scrapped a debt sale following “an analysis of market conditions,” according to a statement on its website today.

A Bloomberg gauge of 20 emerging-market currencies advanced for the first time in five days, increasing 0.4 percent to 89.3332.

The index’s relative strength index has remained below 30 since January 20, a threshold signaling to some technical analysts that a security is oversold.

The RSI decreased to 19.3 yesterday, near the lowest level since May, before recovering to 29.2 today.

“What we are seeing right now is a lot of money exiting the emerging markets,” UBS chief executive Sergio Ermotti said in Zurich on Bloomberg Television’s “Countdown.”

“Short term, it looks a little bit overdone.”

The rand climbed 1.2 percent versus the dollar, the most on a closing basis since January 10, to 11.1472.

Turkey’s lira added 1.2 percent, taking its gain to 3.6 percent since January 24, the day before the central bank announced an extraordinary meeting at which it decided to raise interest rates.

The forint increased 1.1 percent to 310.89 per euro after the currency’s RSI dropped to 19.7 yesterday.

The forint plunged the most among emerging-market peers last week as the central bank signaled it won’t take immediate steps to stem the slide after cutting interest rates to a record.

US Data

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index trades at 8.9 times projected 12-month earnings, the lowest since August, following an 8.7 percent drop in the measure this year.

The multiple for the MSCI World Index of developed-nation equities is 14.

US factory-orders data today will add to evidence of a slowdown in manufacturing in the world’s two largest economies, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

American data “has contributed to souring sentiment,” Russ Koesterich, BlackRock Inc.’s chief investment strategist, wrote in a note.

“The combination of US Federal Reserve tapering and high debt levels in many emerging countries will keep volatility high.”

Lenovo retreated the most since January 2009.

The stock has tumbled 23 percent in two trading days since announcing its $2.91 billion purchase of loss-making Motorola Mobility.

Tencent Holdings Ltd. slumped 6.1 percent, the biggest drag on the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

Samsung Electronics Co., which gets about 30 percent of its sales from the US, slid to its lowest level since August.

The premium investors demand to own emerging-market debt over US Treasuries fell two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 364 basis points, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. - Bloomberg News


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