• Asian shares slip as Wall St records streak ends

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    HONG KONG: Markets sank in Asian trade on Thursday as Wall Street’s record-breaking streak came to an end, while Tokyo was hit by a stronger yen as investors looked ahead to a Bank of Japan policy meeting.

    Tokyo lost 0.64 percent, or 95.95 points, to finish at 14,973.53 and Sydney fell 0.46 percent, or 25.19 points, to 5428.8, while Seoul eased 0.15 percent, or 3.02 points, to 2,011.65.

    Hong Kong slipped 0.35 percent, or 82.27 points, to 23,175.02 and Shanghai eased 0.16 percent, or 3.24 points, to 2,051.71.

    Investors stepped back after global markets enjoyed a rally at the start of the week in response to upbeat data from the United States, China and Japan.

    While there was a certain amount of profit-taking, analysts suggested some of the losses could be attributed to the World Bank’s decision to trim its 2014 global growth forecast to 2.8 percent from a January estimate of 3.2 percent.

    Regional dealers were given a negative lead from New York, where all three main
    indexes ended lower.

    The Dow snapped a four-day streak of all-time highs, closing down 0.60 percent to 16,843.88.

    The S&P 500 fell 0.35 percent, and the Nasdaq eased 0.14 percent.

    Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank, said the World Bank report “sent a sorry signal to investors.”

    He also cited the surprise defeat of House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a Virginia primary battle to a Tea Party-backed candidate. Cantor “was one of the biggest friends of Wall Street and the election of somebody openly antagonistic to Wall Street” sparked worries, Ablin said.

    Japan’s Nikkei led Thursday’s retreat in Asia as the yen held on to its New York gains against the dollar.

    In the afternoon the greenback was worth 102.07 yen, against 102.03 yen late in New York afternoon, but well down from 102.27 yen in Tokyo on Wednesday.

    The euro bought $1.3528 and 138.10 yen compared with $1.3532 and 138.06 yen.

    SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi said the Nikkei “continues to look top-heavy at 15,000, and will consolidate, pushed down by the dollar’s weakness”.

    On oil markets, the US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate for July delivery, rose 89 cents to $105.29 while Brent crude for July gained $1.13 cents to $111.08.
    Gold fetched $1,261.19 an ounce at 8:05 a.m. local time compared with $1,262.40 on Wednesday.

    AFP

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