The biggest drop in Japanese shares since the 2011 earthquake erased $314 billion in market value, shaking bulls who pushed the Topix Index to five-year highs and highlighting their vulnerability to shocks at home and abroad.
Asian stocks sank, with the regional benchmark index headed for the biggest drop since September 2011, as Japanese shares plummeted after preliminary China manufacturing data unexpectedly signaled a contraction and the yen strengthened.
Hong Kong stocks fell, with the benchmark equity index retreating from a three-month high, as Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. dropped after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was said to sell its stake in the lender.
Shares of Asian banks and information technology companies advanced this week as Macquarie Group Ltd. and Samsung Electronics Co. posted higher profits. Japanese exporters fell as the yen touched a two-week high.
Most Asian stocks fell as corporate earnings showed mixed results and the Bank of Japan added nothing new to its stimulus pledge. The regional benchmark index remains headed toward its biggest monthly advance since at least December.
Shane Oliver, Sydney-based head of strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., which has about $126 billion under management, comments on the outlook for Bank of Japan policy following today’s decision to maintain asset purchases. He also discussed his forecast for Japanese equities, speaking in a telephone interview.