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Asian stocks down after steepest quarterly gain


[SYDNEY] Asian stocks fell after the regional equity gauge posted its steepest quarterly advance since 2013. Material and consumer shares led declines.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.3 per cent to 145.85 as of 9.01 am in Tokyo. The measure on Tuesday completed its best quarter since the period ended September 2013, rising 6.1 per cent, as China boosted stimulus. Valuations on the gauge rose last week to the highest since May 2010.

"This is going to be a tougher quarter and you can expect higher volatility," said Nader Naeimi, who helps manage about US$118 billion as Sydney-based head of dynamic asset allocation at AMP Capital Investors Ltd. "We have raised cash levels and now have less in equities than in the past year. You need to have some powder dry to buy into the market if we have a correction." Japan's Topix index slipped 0.3 per cent. The quarterly Tankan index for large manufacturers held at 12 in March, the Bank of Japan said today, missing the median estimate of economists for a reading of 14. A positive number means optimists outnumber pessimists.

South Korea's Kospi index lost 0.2 per cent and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 0.1 per cent. New Zealand's NZX 50 Index was little changed.

Futures on the FTSE China A50 Index added 0.3 per cent. International money managers have been selling mainland shares as valuations climb to the highest levels since 2010 and gauges of Chinese economic growth decline. The Shanghai Composite's 84 per cent advance during the past 12 months has outpaced every other major market worldwide.