Asian stocks mixed, Tokyo dives as yen gains strength


HONG KONG: Asian shares were mixed Thursday, with a stronger yen driving down Tokyo stocks as investors weighed the implications of a potential softening of the US Federal Reserve’s aggressive stimulus programme.

Tokyo stocks tumbled nearly three percent as jittery investors dumped shares following a sharp fall on Wall Street on the back of concerns over global growth.

Hirokazu Kabeya, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities, said “investors still remain shaken-up” after the recent volatile trade in Tokyo, including a single-day loss of more than seven percent last week.

“They don’t see any indication of the downward trend coming to a halt,” he said.

In other markets, Sydney fell 1.34 percent, Hong Kong slipped 0.21 percent, but Seoul climbed 0.26 percent while Shanghai traded flat.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.69 percent to 15,302.80 on Wednesday due to concern over the global economy and the recent surges in US bond yields.

The losses came on rising concerns that the US Fed could soon begin reducing its monetary stimulus plan, hiking fears of a major correction on Wall Street after it touched fresh all-time highs in recent sessions.

Sentiment was also downbeat after the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Wednesday trimmed its world economic growth forecast for 2013 to 3.1 percent from 3.4 percent.

The OECD also slashed its growth forecast for the world’s most advanced economies, except Japan, but said growth should pick up later this year.

The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday also cut its 2013 growth forecast for China to “around 7.75 percent” from 8.0 percent, citing a sluggish global recovery which hurt exports.

China is seen as a potential driver of global recovery in the face of the eurozone’s ongoing debt crisis and unsteady growth elsewhere.

In currency markets, the dollar fetched to 100.80 yen in early Asian trade Thursday against 101.13 yen in New York late Wednesday.

The euro bought $1.2944 and 130.65 yen against $1.2942 and 130.87 yen in US trade.

Oil was down in Asia, with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in July dropping nine cents to $93.04 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for July delivery shedding nine cents to $102.34.

Gold was at $1,395.15 at 0303 GMT from $1,387.70 late Wednesday.


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