ECONOMY

Asian stocks fall for fourth day on Greece, China

Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index headed for a four-day loss, amid concern Europe?s crisis is worsening and as the International Monetary Fund said China?s economy faces significant downside risks.

Suppliers to Apple Inc. (AAPL) tumbled after the company reported earnings that missed estimates. Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (13), an operator of ports and retail chains that gets 55 percent of its revenue in Europe, fell 2.4 percent in Hong Kong. Toshiba Corp. paced losses among Apple suppliers. Sony Corp. (6758), Japan?s No. 1 exporter of consumer electronics, dropped to the lowest since 1980 after a report showed Japan had an unexpected trade surplus in June. Gome Electrical Appliances Holding Ltd., China?s second-biggest electronics retailer, plunged to an all-time low in Hong Kong after forecasting a first-half loss.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 1.2 percent to 112.73 as of 3:41 p.m. in Tokyo, headed for the lowest close since June 8. More than three stocks dropped for each that rose, with eight out of the measure?s 10 industries declining. Measures of volatility increased across the region.

?Signals coming out of Greece are not positive in terms of implementing agreements, and so Europe is going to remain a key negative for markets for quite some time to come,? said Stephen Halmarick, Sydney-based head of investment markets research at Colonial First State Global Asset Management, which oversees about $150 billion. ?The outlook remains very difficult for major economies and therefore for equity markets.?

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell about 12 percent from this year?s high on Feb. 29 through yesterday amid concern China?s economy is slowing and Europe?s sovereign-debt crisis will worsen. The regional benchmark index traded at 11.6 times estimated earnings as of yesterday, compared with 12.9 for the Standard