Published October 07, 2012
SINGAPORE – Asian stocks edged lower on Monday and other riskier assets such as commodities fell as investors remained cautious about the outlook for the global economy and corporate earnings despite better-than-expected U.S. jobs numbers at the end of last week.
Wall Street stocks dipped late on Friday as an unexpected drop in the U.S. unemployment rate was overshadowed by concerns about the earnings season -- which kicks off with Alcoa Inc on Tuesday -- and S&P 500 futures traded in Asia were down a touch on Monday.
"Although the U.S. unemployment figures were encouraging, this in itself is not sufficient to create momentum in the market towards one direction or another," said Cho Byung-hyun, an analyst at Tong Yang Securities in Seoul.
S&P 500 earnings for the third quarter are forecast to have fallen 2.4 percent from the year-earlier period, which would be the first decline in three years, according to Thomson Reuters data.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> fell 0.3 percent. Japanese financial markets were closed for a public holiday.
Equity markets have been rallying since hitting their nadir for the year in early June, receiving a renewed burst of impetus last month when the world's major central banks rolled out fresh measures to support fragile economies.
MSCI's Asia Pacific ex-Japan and All Countries World Indexes are both up around 13 percent over the year-to-date.
But with the euro zone sliding back towards recession amid a still unresolved debt crisis and the U.S. recovery far from secure, investors remain reluctant to chase growth-sensitive riskier assets too aggressively.
Oil fell on Monday, with Brent crude off around 50 cents at about $111.50 a barrel and U.S. crude down about 30 cents near $89.60. Copper fell nearly 1 percent to $8,220 a tonne.
The euro was also lower, falling about 0.2 percent to around $1.30075, which helped the dollar advance around 0.1 percent against a basket of major currencies .
(Additional reporting by Somang Yang in Seoul; Editing by Chris Gallagher)