Hong Kong - Most emerging-market stocks fell, led by Indonesian lenders, after the nation’s central bank said it will maintain a tight monetary policy and investors weighed the outlook for US stimulus.
South Africa’s rand weakened, while India’s rupee gained.
PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia and PT Bank Central Asia dropped at least 1 percent in Jakarta on concern there will be further interest-rate increases.
Discovery Holdings Ltd. slid to a two- month low in Johannesburg after a lender sold a stake for a client.
The rand sank 0.7 percent.
ICICI Bank Ltd. led a 1.3 percent gain for India’s benchmark index and the rupee added 0.5 percent as an exit poll showed the nation’s main opposition party was poised to win in four of five state elections.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index was little changed at 995.36 as of 5:30 p.m. in Hong Kong, headed for the lowest close since November 14.
The rupiah is “undervalued” and the central bank will keep its policy stance tight to restore investor confidence, Senior Deputy Governor Mirza Adityaswara said in an interview yesterday.
The US added more jobs than analysts predicted last month, a private report showed yesterday, before tomorrow’s payrolls data that may help investors gauge the outlook for stimulus.
“The key people are looking at is tapering and whether that would come earlier,” Andrew Sullivan, a director of sales trading at Kim Eng Securities in Hong Kong, said by phone.
“People are just cautious ahead of that.”
About 334 stocks fell and 268 rose in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index today.
The gauge has lost 5.7 percent this year and trades at 10.5 times projected 12-month earnings.
The MSCI World Index has climbed 20 percent this year and is valued at 14.4 times, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Bank Rakyat dropped 2 percent in Jakarta, the most since November 26, while Bank Central sank to the lowest level since September 9.
The Jakarta Composite Index fell 0.6 percent to the lowest level in almost three months.
Bank Indonesia may use policy tools including interest rates and reserve requirement ratios to curb inflation and shrink the current-account deficit to below 3 percent of gross domestic product in 2014, Adityaswara said.
The central bank has raised its key rate by 1.75 percentage points since early June, damping growth in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.
The rupiah rose 0.2 percent, reversing an earlier decline to a four-year low.
Five out of 10 industry groups in the MSCI emerging index declined, led by consumer-discretionary companies.
PT Astra International, Indonesia’s biggest automotive retailer, fell 1.6 percent to the lowest level since September 12.
The Philippine Stock Exchange Index sank 1.2 percent, dragged down by a 3.1 percent slump in Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.
TPK Holding, a Taiwanese supplier to Apple Inc., slid 3.7 percent, its second day of declines.
The company said sales last month dropped 37 percent from a year earlier.
Taiwan’s Taiex Index lost 0.5 percent, the most since November 21.
The rand fell to the weakest level since March 2009, fueled by the longest South African bond selloff in more than 15 years.
The nation’s benchmark stock index rose 1.1 percent, led by a 3 percent surge in Naspers Ltd.
The S&P BSE Sensex of Indian shares headed for the highest close since November 5, while the rupee climbed to a one-month high.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, which picked Narendra Modi as its choice for prime minister, is set to retain two states, take power from the ruling Congress in another and win the most seats in Delhi, according to an exit poll yesterday.
Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat state since 2001, has overseen annual economic growth of 10 percent on average and attracted investment to companies from Ford Motor Co. to the Tata Group.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.2 percent, led by phone companies and small-company shares, on speculation the benchmark gauge’s rally yesterday to a three-month high was excessive. - Bloomberg News