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Most Asia stocks slip, euro up against dollar

/ 12:36 AM June 04, 2015
People walk past Japan's Nikkei stock index and other financial indexes displayed on an electronic board in Tokyo on May 28, 2015. Asian markets mostly fell Wednesday, while the euro edged higher following upbeat eurozone inflation data as traders track Greece's debt reform talks before a repayment deadline.  AP PHOTO/SHUJI KAJIYAMA

People walk past Japan’s Nikkei stock index and other financial indexes displayed on an electronic board in Tokyo on May 28, 2015. Asian markets mostly fell Wednesday, while the euro edged higher following upbeat eurozone inflation data as traders track Greece’s debt reform talks before a repayment deadline.  AP PHOTO/SHUJI KAJIYAMA

HONG KONG—Asian markets mostly fell Wednesday, while the euro edged higher following upbeat eurozone inflation data as traders track Greece’s debt reform talks before a repayment deadline.

Tokyo slipped 0.34 percent, or 69.68 points, to 20,473.51 dragged down by a stronger yen. Shanghai closed marginally lower, giving up 0.55 points to 4,909.98.

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Sydney shed 0.93 percent, or 52.40 points, to 5,583.60 and Seoul lost 0.74 percent, or 15.48 points, to 2,063.16.

Hong Kong, however, rose 0.69 percent, or 190.75 points to close at 27,657.47.

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Dealers moved out of Japanese equities for a second day after the Nikkei posted its 12th straight session of gains on Monday—its longest rally since 1988 at the height of the country’s stock market bubble.

Selling Wednesday was fueled by a pick-up in the yen, which Tuesday had hit its weakest level against the dollar in more than 12 years. A stronger yen makes Japanese exporters less competitive against their international rivals.

The greenback fell Wednesday after more weak US data clouded the timeline for an interest rate hike, while the euro got a lift from hopes for a long-awaited Greek bailout deal.

The Dow lost 0.16 percent Tuesday, the S&P 500 dipped 0.10 percent and the Nasdaq shed 0.13 percent.

On currency markets the dollar was at 124.13 yen Wednesday against 124.09 in New York, but well down from the 12-year high of 125.05 yen briefly touched in Asia Tuesday.

The euro bought $1.1159 and 138.52 yen from $1.1152 and 138.39 yen in US trade.

With a deadline for Greece to repay some of its debt on Friday, the country’s leaders and its creditors have exchanged reform proposals, although there are still fears an agreement may not be reached.

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Eurozone inflation rises

Investors were spooked Tuesday when Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, said he was unimpressed with progress.

His remarks come as Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras prepares to meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Wednesday evening.

There are worries that if Greece defaults on its debts it could end up tumbling out of the eurozone.

“The euro clearly has the ability to lead the dollar higher or lower across the board, and really that vulnerability stems from very different potential outcomes you get from the negotiations between Greece and its creditors,” Raiko Shareef, a markets strategist at Bank of New Zealand, told Bloomberg News.

The single currency was also boosted by data showing eurozone inflation climbed to 0.3 percent in May—the first rise in five months and raising hopes the region is recovering—while Germany and Spain released solid labor reports.

The results came ahead of Wednesday’s meeting of the European Central Bank and a subsequent news conference with chief Mario Draghi.

Oil prices slipped after sharp gains on Tuesday fueled by the weaker dollar and on expectations the OPEC cartel will decide at a meeting this week to maintain high production levels despite a global glut.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for July delivery fell 55 cents to $60.71 while Brent crude for July eased 41 cents to $65.08.

Gold fetched $1,189.20 compared with $1,190.90 late Tuesday.

In other markets:

— Taipei fell 0.60 percent, or 57.74 points, to Tw$9,556.52.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. was down 0.69 percent at Tw$143.0 while Hon Hai Precision Industry closed 0.82 percent lower at Tw$97.0.

— Wellington was flat, edging down 5.04 points to 5,858.71.

Air New Zealand eased 0.85 percent to NZ$2.90 and Fletcher Building slipped 1.97 percent to NZ$8.45.

— Manila added 0.13 percent, or 9.71 points, to close at 7,561.67.

— Bangkok closed up 0.35 percent, or 5.20 points, to 1,482.07.

Bumrungrad Hospital, a popular health tourism provider, gained 3.20 percent to 177.50 baht, while power firm Electricity Generating added 0.99 percent to 152.50 baht.

— Kuala Lumpur, added 0.45 percent, or 7.80 points, to 1,749.17.

Malayan Banking rose 0.22 percent to 9.16 ringgit, Public bank added 0.11 percent to 18.56 ringgit, while Telekom Malaysia lost 0.29 percent to 6.98 ringgit.

— Jakarta ended down 1.60 percent, or 83.32 points, at 5,130.50.

Mining equipment company PT United Tractors Tbk gained 4.99 percent to 21,550 rupiah, while Indonesian bank Bank Rakyat Indonesia fell 4.05 percent to 11,250 rupiah.

— Singapore rose 0.27 percent, or 9.09 points, to close at 3,349.84.

Singapore Telecom jumped 2.26 percent to Sg$4.07 and oil rig maker Keppel Corp. declined 0.58 percent to Sg$8.60.

— Mumbai fell 1.29 percent, or 351.18 points, to end at 26,837.20.

Tata Power fell 6.13 percent to 70.40 rupees, while Coal India gained 0.81 percent 386.70 rupees.

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