Asian markets down, yen weakens further

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A woman chats with her fellow investor in front of the stock price monitor at a private securities company Tuesday, March 12, 2013, in Shanghai, China. Asian stock markets dropped Tuesday, dragged down by new worries about China’s recovery and Europe’s doldrums. AP Photo

HONG KONG—Asian markets fell on Tuesday as profit-takers moved in to reverse earlier gains, but the dollar extended its recent upward trend against the Japanese yen.

The regional losses came despite another record close for the Dow Jones index on Wall Street, while Shanghai suffered another steep fall after the weekend’s disappointing data on the Chinese economy.

Tokyo slipped 0.28 percent, or 34.24 points, to 12,314.81, Seoul lost 0.5 percent, or 10.01 points, to 1,993.34 while Sydney fell 0.56 percent, or 29.0 points, to 5,117.9.

Hong Kong was 0.87 percent lower, shedding 200.22 points to 22,890.60 while Shanghai lost 1.04 percent, or 23.98 points, to 2,286.61.

The losses come after shares enjoyed a broad run-up in recent sessions as the Dow hit an all-time high.

The index continued its rally on Monday thanks to Friday’s upbeat jobs numbers that has fueled optimism over the health of the world’s biggest economy.

“Expectations of a US economic recovery are strong,” Daisaku Ueno, senior foreign exchange strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley told Dow Jones Newswires. The jobs data “changed the picture for the dollar/yen.”

On Monday the Dow closed up 0.35 percent, a seventh straight advance and a fifth consecutive record close.

The broader S&P 500 gained 0.32 percent to sit just nine points below its own all-time closing high set on October 9, 2007. The Nasdaq added 0.26 percent.

On currency markets, the dollar advanced further against the yen, with the Japanese unit facing continued pressure from expectations that the Bank of Japan will further loosen monetary policy.

The dollar was at 96.40 yen in Tokyo trade from 96.26 yen in New York late Monday.

The euro stood at $1.3009 and 125.34 yen, compared with $1.3046 and 125.59 yen in New York.

The yen came under extra pressure after a report in Japan’s leading Nikkei economic daily Tuesday suggested the BoJ nominees might launch fresh easing measures before their first policy meeting next month, dealers said.

However, there are concerns over China after data over the weekend added to a number of weak indicators recently suggesting the country’s pick-up may not be as strong as hoped.

Beijing said Saturday that inflation hit a 10-month high of 3.2 percent in February while growth in industrial output and retail sales slowed.

Inflation is a key issue for the ruling Communist Party as it raises the chances of popular discontent over climbing prices and the threat of social unrest.

Investors are also worried the government will unveil more tightening measures to temper the rising cost of living.

Oil prices fell, with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, easing 32 cents to $91.74 and Brent North Sea crude for April delivery dipping 38 cents at $109.84.

Gold was at $1,582.70 at 1030 GMT compared with $1,578.34 late Monday.

In other markets:

— Wellington rose 0.28 percent, or 12.19 points, to 4,378.76.

Telecom rose 1.2 percent to NZ$2.45 and Auckland Airport added 2.1 percent to NZ$2.88 but Fletcher Building shed 1.7 percent to NZ$9.10.

— Manila fell 0.40 percent, or 27.53 points, to 6,786.42.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone gained 0.34 percent to 2,960 pesos but SM Investment rose 0.63 percent to 1,104 pesos.

— Taipei fell 0.55 percent, or 44.01 points, to 7,994.71.

Fubon Financial Holding shed 4.32 percent at Tw$42.1 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. was 0.49 percent higher at Tw$102.5.

— Bangkok ended flat, shedding 0.97 points to 1,576.68.

Telecoms company Advanced Info Service jumped 4.46 percent to 234 baht, while oil company Bangchak Petroleum lost 3.42 percent to 35.25 baht.

— Singapore rose 0.31 percent, or 10.05 points, to 3,303.02.

Real estate developer Capitaland gained 1.42 percent to Sg$3.58 and United Overseas Bank increased 0.20 percent to Sg$19.85.

— Kuala Lumpur closed flat, slipping 1.42 points to 1,656.54.

Felda Global Ventures Holdings dipped 1.3 percent to 4.71 ringgit, while Hong Leong Financial Group gained 2.1 percent to 15.38 ringgit.

— Mumbai fell 0.41 percent, or 81.29 points, at 19,564.92 points.

Hindustan Unilever closed up 1.16 percent at 444.10 rupees while Larsen & Toubro was down 0.49 percent at 1,498.40 rupees.

— Jakarta was closed for a public holiday.

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