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Asian stocks fall for seventh day

Asian stocks fall for seventh day

Asian stocks fell for a seventh day, the longest losing streak December 2007, as a stronger yen threatened the value of Japanese exports and Australian unemployment rose.
Honda Motor Co., which makes 51 percent of its revenue in North America, dropped 2.9 percent as the yen rose to a four-month high against the U.S. dollar. Wesfarmers Ltd., Australia's second-largest retailer, sank 3 percent as the statistics bureau said the jobless rate climbed to the highest in almost six years. Hang Lung Properties Ltd., a developer with investments in China, slid 3.6 percent in Hong Kong on speculation the Chinese central bank will curb lending, damping demand for real estate.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.4 percent to 100.14 as of 3:10 p.m. in Tokyo yesterday, taking its seven-day decline to 3 percent. The gauge had climbed as much as 49 percent from a more than five-year low on March 9 on optimism government stimulus measures will revive global growth. "Markets need to come off some more before people start buying," said John Koh, who helps manage US$1.1 billion at MEAG Hong Kong Ltd. "Investors are waiting for earnings to show a recovery is on track." Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average declined 1.4 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 0.6 percent.
The Bank of Korea left the benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low for a fifth month yesterday. The central bank follows counterparts in Australia and Europe, which both kept borrowing costs at historic lows in the past week to support their economies.