Asian markets mostly down as Tokyo's decline continues
AFPHONG KONG--Asian markets were mostly down Wednesday, in spite of a Wall Street rally, with Tokyo extending the previous day's fall as the yen strengthened following a Bank of Japan (BOJ) monetary policy shift.
January 24, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
Tokyo's Nikkei fell 2.08 percent, or 222.94 points to 10,486.99 and Seoul closed 0.81-percent lower, losing 16.11 points to 1,980.41, but Sydney rose 0.18 percent, or 8.7 points, to 4,787.8.
Hong Kong eased 0.10 percent, shedding 23.89 points to 23,635.10 and Shanghai ended up 0.25 percent, or 5.77 points, at 2,320.91 thanks to a late rally.
Japan's Nikkei was hit after the central bank said Tuesday it would fall into line with the new government and set a 2-percent inflation target, while also launching an unlimited asset-buying scheme from next year.
The bank also lifted its growth forecast, predicting gross domestic product would expand 2.3 percent in the year ended March 2014, up from an earlier 1.6-percent estimate.
But the BOJ moves were in-line with expectations, which have seen the yen tumble against the U.S. dollar and euro, in turn sending equities flying higher.
“The BOJ monetary policy announcement came so completely within range of market expectations that it rang as a disappointment,” SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi told Dow Jones Newswires.
The yen began rising soon after Tuesday's announcement and rose further in New York trade. However, it stabilized in Tokyo early Wednesday.
The greenback — which hit a two-and-a-half-year high of 90.24 yen before the BOJ move — bought 88.36 yen in afternoon trade, against 88.68 yen in New York on Tuesday.
The euro — which topped 120 yen last week — also slipped to 117.53 yen Wednesday, from 118.14 yen in New York and to US$1.3298 from US$1.3321.
Regional markets were largely unaffected by healthy gains on Wall Street Tuesday following a long weekend, thanks to stronger-than-expected earnings results, including from The Travelers Companies and DuPont.