When a dictator dies, this is for liberty. Liberty is good for free markets. Free markets are good for stocks. Yet stocks fall when a dictator dies.
Kim Jong-il has died at age 69. He was the next-to-last Communist. Only the Castro bothers remain. His son is an unknown. Whether he can hold onto power is the big question.
Stocks fell in Asia because of uncertainty. Increased uncertainty sends stock markets lower. But the uncertainty also is being imported from Europe. The euro crisis continues.
“The market has been pretty weak, and when something unexpected happens in this kind of sentiment, people want to go for safety,” said Tim Leung, who helps manage about $1.5 billion at IG Investment Ltd. in Hong Kong. “Whether a successor would be able to stabilize the situation with Korea is important to see. In the short term, people would want to close some of their positions to see what happens next.”
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 2.1 percent to 110.15 as of 3:10 p.m. in Tokyo, heading for its biggest decline since Nov. 10. Six shares fell for each that rose in the measure. The gauge dropped 2.3 percent last week as signs of slowing economic growth in China and Japan and concern that Europe’s debt crisis is worsening overshadowed improving U.S. data. . . .
“Europe’s situation continues to be tough,” said Kenichi Hirano, general manager and strategist at Tachibana Securities Co. in Tokyo. “We are likely to see more downgrades for government debt and banks. Stocks (MXAP) will take a hit every time that happens.”
What is the situation in Europe? The region’s finance ministers will meet this afternoon at 3:30 Brussels time. They face a deadline for raising more bailout funds. They must also put together new budget rules. More meetings mean less certainty.
China’s real estate bubble has popped, as I predicted it would last year.
Chinese developers declined as China’s home prices posted the worst performance this year, with more than half of the 70 biggest cities monitored in November recording declines after the government reiterated plans to maintain property curbs.
This points to recesseion. Recessions force down commodity prices.
Gauges of raw-material producers and energy companies posted the biggest decline among the 10 industry groups in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. Crude oil futures traded near a six- week low in New York. Copper, zinc and nickel declined for the first time in three days.
This is good for those consumers who don’t lose their jobs.