Data provided by McGregor BFA
All data is delayed
Loading...
See More

Asian shares listless, yen firmer

Feb 19 2013 07:55 Reuters

Related Articles

Asian shares gain on improving sentiment

European shares hit by weak growth data

Hong Kong shares edge higher

Asian shares fall on eurozone fears

Asian markets up, Tokyo hit by strong yen

Asian shares pause, caution before ECB

 

Tokyo - Most Asian shares barely moved on Tuesday as a holiday in the US overnight and a lack of catalysts kept many investors on the sidelines.

Concerns about the eurozone economy, US fiscal talks and Chinese appetite limited gains in commodities and also weighed on the euro.

The dollar's strength against a basket of currencies also weighed on commodities and capped gains in gold.

"Markets have become top-heavy after rallying through early February on signs of economic recovery in the United States and Europe, and investors now await fresh factors to push prices higher from here," said Tomomichi Akuta, senior economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting in Tokyo.

"The broad sentiment is underpinned by a lack of tail risks, but investors are turning to some potentially worrying elements such as Italian elections and US budget talks," he said.

The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat after briefly touching a 18-1/2-month high. The index has gained 3.5% this year.

Disappointing earnings pushed European shares lower on Monday for a third straight session while US markets were closed for the President's Day holiday.

The risk of an inconclusive outcome in Italy's election this weekend added to concerns while investors kept eyes on Washington where policymakers are discussing a package of budget cuts set to kick in March 1, which analysts warn could hurt the economy.

"We didn't have a lead from Wall St overnight, we also had weakness coming through from European markets overnight, so we were never expecting a strong day," said Juliette Saly, stock market analyst at Commonwealth Securities in Sydney.

Australian shares edged up 0.1% as investors focused on local corporate earnings for direction after a three-month rally that has taken the market to 4-1/2 year highs.

The Nikkei stock average eased 0.2%, after closing up 2.1% on Monday to approach its highest level since September 2008 of 11,498.42 tapped on February 6.

Spot gold was up 0.3% at $1 614.01 an ounce.

London copper inched up 0.3%t to $8 144 a tonne as Monday's three-week low drew bargain hunting given prospects for a slowly improving global economic recovery. Unease over China's limp return to the market from a week-long break held back upside momentum, however.

US crude fell 0.3% to $95.59 a barrel while Brent inched up 0.1% to $117.48.

The euro was steady around $1.3344. The currency eased slightly on Monday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said in a speech at the European Parliament that "the exchange rate is not a policy target but is important for growth and price stability" and that its rise is "a risk."

Yen jittery

The yen remained near recent lows on Tuesday, as attention turned to the appointment of a new Bank of Japan governor.

The yen, which has dropped 20% against the dollar since mid-November, fell further at the start of the week after financial leaders from the G20 promised not to devalue their currencies to boost exports and avoided singling out Japan for any direct criticism.

The choice of the next BOJ governor and two deputies has drawn attention as a gauge of how strongly Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is committed to reflating the economy. The G20's message was that as long as Japan pursues aggressive monetary easing to achieve that goal, a weaker yen as a result of such domestic monetary policy will be tolerated, analysts say.

"But that means that some other economy's monetary conditions have been tightened," said Barclays Capital in a note.

"Japan hasn't even changed its policy stance thus far, and the effect of expectations of a looser setting have led to limited moves in domestic interest rates, but the sell-off of the JPY has been marked and has clearly caused unease in other economies," the note said.

Market reaction was muted to the release of the minutes of the BOJ's January 21-22 meeting, when the bank set a 2% inflation target and pledged an open-ended quantitative easing from 2014. But the yen was bought when Finance Minister Taro Aso told reporters Japan has no plans to buy foreign currency bonds as part of monetary easing, a trader said.

The dollar was down 0.2% to ¥93.73, but remained near its highest since May 2010 of 94.465 hit on February 11. The euro also eased 0.3% to ¥125.05, below its peak since April 2010 of ¥127.71 touched on February 6.

Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.

markets  |  yen
NEXT ON FIN24X

 
 
 

Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Company Snapshot

We're Talking About: Small Business

Standard Bank is looking for 12 entrepreneurs to participate in a 10-part TV series. They could win a R1m investment into their dream.
 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...
Loading...