Gloomy U.S. Profit Forecasts Weigh Down Asian Exporters


In Asia Friday the Nikkei 225 Index slumped 1.9% to end the week at 9,737. In Hong Kong the Hang Seng slipped 0.2% to 20,691 and in China the Shanghai Composite dipped 0.5% to 2,553.

Gloomy profit forecasts from U.S. giants like Nike (NKE) and Dell (DELL) sparked concern about the growth of the world economy among Asian investors. According to Bloomberg, Nike's sales were lower than expected and if people in America aren't shopping, that spells bad news for exporters all over the world -- especially in Asia. In Japan, car makers tumbled with Isuzu slumping 3.1%, Mazda dropping 2.2%, Toyota falling 1.9% and Honda losing 0.9%.

Car parts manufacturers followed suit with Clarion, a maker of car audio systems, plunging 5% and Alps, which makes car electronics, dropping 2.9%. Consumer electronics makers also had a rough day with Canon plunging 4.5%, Panasonic and Sony both diving 2.1% and Casio Computer falling 1.5%.

Those exporting industrial parts and machinery were also among today's losers with Nisshin Steel, an expert in stainless steel, slumping 5%, Okuma, which makes lathes and grinders, plunging 4.9% and Minebea, a manufacturer of ball bearings and computer keyboards, declining 2.3%.

Shipping companies closed lower today, despite pronouncements that some are predicting better-than-expected profits and larger loads. According to Bloomberg, shippers like Nippon Yusen K.K., which transports everything from car parts to cement to clothing, plan to add surcharges on vessels heading to America during the summer as demand is expected to pick up. But today Nippon Yusen K.K. slid 1.4% and other Japanese shippers headed in the same direction. Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha fell 2.3% and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines declined 2.2%.

Hong Kong shippers also lost value with China Shipping Development Company dropping 2.1%, China COSCO Holdings falling 1.4%, China Merchants Energy Shipping, which predominantly transports crude oil, down 1.1% and China Shipping Container Lines losing 1%.

Among the Hong Kong companies posting the biggest losses today were Foxconn, which may have put together your new iPhone 4. Today Foxconn tumbled 3.1%. Esprit, which has already marked down its summer collection for online shoppers to make room for woolly hats and scarves, dropped 2.6%. Hong Kong shoe making giant Yue Yuen, which manufactures shoes for Nike, slipped 1.2%.

In China, makers of building materials also fared badly with cement maker Xinjiang Qingsong Building Materials and Chemicals and Zhejiang Weixing New Building Materials both nosediving 2.2%. Hubei Sanxia New Building Material, which supplies weatherproof glass for homes and office buildings, fell 1.7%. Makers of other building materials also closed lower with Anhui Conch Cement plunging 1.9% and Angang Steel dropping 1.7%. Unfortunately, the cooling Chinese property market is taking many other industries with it.