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Asian stocks fall

May 30 2013 09:43 AFP
A businessman passes a share prices board in Tokyo

A businessman passes a share prices board in Tokyo. (Picture: AFP)

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Hong Kong - Asian stocks fell on Thursday, with Tokyo plummeting more than five percent as the yen gained strength, after a series of economic forecasts underlined concerns over global growth.

Investors were also weighing the implications of a potential softening of the US Federal Reserve's aggressive stimulus programme amid fears of a correction in US markets.

Tokyo stocks tumbled 5.15%, or 737.43 points, to 13 589.03 as jittery investors dumped shares following a sharp fall on Wall Street.

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 slipped 0.89%, or 44.0 points, to close at 4 930.7 while Seoul ended flat, edging down 1.10 points at 2 000.10.

In the afternoon, Hong Kong was 0.42% lower and Shanghai was down 0.24%.

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

The losses were also triggered by 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 downbeat after the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Wednesday trimmed its world economic growth forecast for 2013 to 3.1% from 3.4%.

The OECD 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 also cut its 2013 growth forecast for China on Wednesday to "around 7.75%" from 8.0%, 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.

Investors were now focusing on key US indicators including weekly jobless claims later in the day and a non-farm payrolls report next week, dealers said.

In currency markets, the dollar fetched ¥100.61 in early Asian trade Thursday against ¥101.13 in New York late Wednesday.

The euro bought $1.2972 and ¥130.57 against $1.2942 and ¥130.87 in US trade.

Oil prices recovered in Asia, with New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in July adding eight cents to $93.21 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for July delivery increasing 29 cents to $102.72.

Gold was at $1 408.68 at 08:40 from $1 387.70 late Wednesday.

In other markets:

- Wellington fell 0.40%, or 17.75 points, to 4 470.51.

Fletcher Building was down 0.24% at NZ$8.36, while Telecom Corp up 1.1% at NZ$2.28.

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asia  |  international markets  |  asian stocks
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