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Nikkei Asia300 Index edges lower as Apple suppliers fall

iPhone X's October-end pre-orders disappoint investors

MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan declined Wednesday, weighed by losses in suppliers to Apple following the launch of the latest iPhones.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index ended down 0.2% to 1,308.36, with Taiwanese Apple suppliers pacing the declines. Largan Precision, a lens supplier to Apple, and iPhone assembler Pegatron Corp. declined at least 3% each in Taipei. Also in Taiwan, power choke supplier Delta Electronics dropped 1.8% and iPhone's primary assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry shed 1.3%.

Shares of Apple ended lower in U.S. trading on Tuesday after it introduced three new models of its highly successful iPhones - iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X. Some analysts said there was a bit of disappointment that preorders for the highly anticipated iPhone X would start only at October-end, later than investors had expected.

"We expect Asian Tech stocks in the Apple supply chain to face profit taking pressure post the new iPhone launch event, as they did in prior iPhone cycles," Morgan Stanley said in a note. "Among all, we would suggest to take profit on Hon Hai (high expectations plus potential margin risk) and LG Innotek (80% profits from iPhone at peak earnings on peak multiples)."

Shares of LG Innotek declined 1.7% in Seoul.

South Korea's SK Hynix, the world's biggest memory chip maker behind Samsung Electronics, added 1.3%. Japan's Toshiba said Wednesday it will accelerate talks to sell its memory chip business to a group led by Bain Capital and SK Hynix.

The H-shares of Ping An Insurance Group rose 0.4% after reporting a 35% increase in premium income for its life-insurance business in the first eight months of this year. Its total premium income rose 31.6% during the period.

Indian Oil Corp. fell 4.4% in Mumbai after media reports that the government will ask oil marketing companies to absorb any further increase in global crude oil prices and won't allow them to pass on the higher costs to consumers. Hindustan Petroleum Corp. and Bharat Petroleum Corp. declined at least 5% each.

State Bank of India, the nation's biggest lender, slipped 0.2%. It unit SBI Life Insurance fixed a price band of 685 rupees ($10.70) to 700 rupees per share for its initial public offering. The share sale will open Sept. 20 and close on Sept. 22.

In regional economic data, India's retail inflation rose at a faster-than-expected pace in August, with prices increasing by 3.36%. Industrial output in Asia's third-largest economy rose 1.2% in July, data released late Tuesday showed.

In country indices compiled by Nikkei, India lost 0.3% and China declined 0.1% while South Korea added 0.3%. Hong Kong's gauge ended little changed and that of Taiwan dropped 0.9%.

The Nikkei Asia300 ASEAN Index of Southeast Asian companies declined 0.4%.

--Nimesh Vora

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