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20.08.2014 08:40

Asian stocks closed

Asian stocks fell after valuations reached the highest level this year and as BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) slumped, dragging materials shares to the largest decline on the regional gauge.

U.S. inflation weakened to the slowest pace in five months in July, holding below the Federal Reserve's target. Minutes of the Fed's July 29-30 meeting, when the stimulatory bond-buying program was reduced by $10 billion for a sixth time, are released today and Fed Chair Janet Yellen will speak to global central bankers later this week.

QBE climbed 5.6 percent to A$11.31, the most since May 2013. The Australian insurer's share sale and debt refinancing will raise about $1.5 billion, Chief Executive Officer John Neal said on a call with reporters yesterday.

BHP Billiton lost 3.9 percent to A$38.13 after yesterday announcing it's poised for the biggest spinoff in the mining industry, separating aluminum, coal and silver assets to create a company valued around $15 billion after it begins trading next year. BHP's London-listed shares fell the most in almost three years. A decision to skip a widely anticipated share purchase will disappoint investors, who had expected a $3 billion buyback, Citigroup Inc. said.

Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd. lost 2.1 percent to A$9.54 in Sydney after flagging a second consecutive drop in full-year earnings amid weak consumer confidence and rising costs in Indonesia.

Nikkei 225 15,454.45 +4.66 +0.03%

Hang Seng 25,137.26 +14.31 +0.06%

S&P/ASX 200 5,634.6 +10.83 +0.19%

Shanghai Composite 2,240.21 -5.12 -0.23%

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