Asian shares lower; Tokyo hurt by rising yen
By Sam Reeves, AFPHONG KONG--Asian shares mostly fell Wednesday on profit taking after recent gains, with Tokyo suffering heavy losses as the yen rebounded strongly following weeks of steep declines.
January 17, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
Suppliers of Boeing's Dreamliner slid in Tokyo after two Japanese airlines grounded their fleets of the aircraft after one made an emergency landing, but shares of the carriers themselves did not take a big hit.
Analysts said that Boeing, which is traded mainly in New York, would likely be the focus of investor concern.
Tokyo ended 2.56 percent, or 278.64 points, lower at 10,600.44 and Shanghai slipped 0.70 percent, or 16.18 points, to 2,309.50.
Seoul dropped 0.32 percent, or 6.29 points, to 1,977.45 and Hong Kong was off 0.10 percent, or 24.52 points, to 23,356.99. But Sydney put on 0.46 percent, or 21.8 points, to close at 4,738.4.
Asian markets had kicked off the year on a high note, rallying strongly after U.S. lawmakers clinched a deal to avert a fiscal cliff of across-the-board tax hikes and automatic spending cuts.
But regional bourses have begun to fall back as traders take profits, analysts said.
Tokyo led Wednesday's falls as the yen extended a strong rebound that started the previous day after Japan's economy minister warned the unit's slide in recent weeks could jeopardize a recovery by raising the price of imports.
Also in Tokyo, shares in suppliers of Boeing's troubled Dreamliner fell after All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines grounded their entire fleets after an ANA plane made an emergency landing in southwest Japan due to a battery problem.
But shares in Japan's two biggest airlines were mixed following the latest problem for the aircraft, with ANA losing 1.62 percent to 182 yen in Tokyo trade and Japan Airlines up 1.80 percent at 3,675 yen.
Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Investment Management, told Dow Jones: “Boeing has been hit badly, but focus hasn't been on either ANA or JAL thus far.”
Investors were also looking ahead to Chinese growth data for the fourth quarter and all of 2012 due to be released Friday, which is expected to confirm the world's second-largest economy is picking up after a slowdown, dealers said.
Gold was at US$1,678.80 at 1030 GMT compared with US$1,680.90 late Tuesday.
In other markets:
— Wellington fell 0.04 percent, or 1.72 points, to 4,169.23.
— Manila retreated 0.66 percent, or 40.15 points, to 6,047.52.
— Singapore closed up 0.39 percent, or 12.43 points, to 3,208.50.
— Jakarta ended up 0.23 percent, or 10.14 points, to 4,410.96.
— Bangkok lost 0.47 percent, or 6.72 points, to 1,416.14.
Oil company PTT added 0.30 percent to 336.00 baht, while coal producer Banpu dropped 1.49 percent to 396.00 baht.
— Mumbai slid 0.85 percent or 169.19 points to 19,817.63.