Global Markets: Asian shares ease

Sep 18 2012, 09:36 IST
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SummaryMSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.4 per cent.

Asian shares retreated from four-month highs on Tuesday while gold and copper eased, as markets calculated the impact on growth from the Federal Reserve's aggressive stimulus and eyed whether Spain will request a bailout to ease its fiscal strains.

Concerns about the growth slowdown in China, the world's top consumer of raw materials and the second-largest economy, also weighed on sentiment as investors took profits from last week's rallies.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.4 percent. The index touched its highest point since May 3 on Monday, rallying some 3 percent since the Fed launched a third round of bond buying known as quantitative easing (QE) on Thursday, spurring a broad based jump in riskier assets.

European shares slipped from 14-month highs on Monday as traders booked profits while U.S. stocks also paused after surging nearly five-year highs last week. Commodity-reliant Australian shares fell 0.2 percent while Shanghai shares dropped 0.5 percent on Tuesday.

Investors are really in defensive mode today, and probably will stay that way until Thursday, when we get the fresh read on manufacturing out from China, said Juliana Roadley, a market analyst at Commonwealth Securities, referring to the HSBC flash PMI.

Reflecting how the country's resources sector is losing steam as slackening demand from top customer China drove down commodity prices, Australia on Tuesday revised down minerals and energy export revenues by 9 percent to A$190 billion ($200 billion) in the year to June 30, 2013. It also cut its revenue forecasts for iron ore by a fifth.

The Nikkei stock average bucked the trend to edge up 0.2 percent, with a weaker yen offsetting concerns over firms having large exposure to China, where anti-Japan protests were escalating as tensions mounted over a territorial dispute between Asia's two biggest economies.

Masayuki Doshida, senior market analyst at Rakuten Securities, said the Japanese stock market was also underpinned by expectations that the Bank of Japan will follow the Fed with its own stimulus measures, to stem the yen's appreciation after the Fed's move last week. The BOJ ends its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday. The yen traded at 78.59 to the dollar, off a one-week low of 78.93 touched on Monday. The Fed's move undermined the dollar and lifted the yen to a seven-month high of 77.13 on Thursday.


The dollar index measured against a basket of key currencies

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