Asian stocks fall as yen strengthens against euro on Greek vote result

Asian stocks fell as the yen climbed to the highest since September 2013 against the euro on projections a political party committed to renegotiating Greece's debt will win enough votes to put it close to holding a majority. -- PHOTO:  REUTERS
Asian stocks fell as the yen climbed to the highest since September 2013 against the euro on projections a political party committed to renegotiating Greece's debt will win enough votes to put it close to holding a majority. -- PHOTO:  REUTERS

SINGAPORE (Bloomberg) - Asian stocks fell as the yen climbed to the highest since September 2013 against the euro on projections a political party committed to renegotiating Greece's debt will win enough votes to put it close to holding a majority.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.4 per cent to 140.59 as of 9:01 a.m. in Tokyo, after climbing to a two-month high on Friday. Syriza party leader Alexis Tsipras said Greece's era of bowing to international creditors is over after Prime Minister Antonis Samaras conceded defeat in elections dominated by a public backlash against years of budget cuts. The yen gained 0.9 per cent against the euro.

"If Syriza indeed gets more than a third of the votes, it can get a majority in the Greek parliament without needing to form a coalition government," said Brian Jacobsen, chief portfolio strategist at Wells Fargo Asset Management. "This will likely continue pushing the euro lower on the remote possibility of Grexit."

Tsipras has pledged a writedown of Greek debt and to abandon budget constraints that were imposed in return for aid, goals which Samaras said would risk Greece's exit from the euro bloc. Tsipras has said he'll keep the nation within the single currency area as he negotiates on the debt.

Japan's Topix index lost 1 per cent on a weaker yen. The nation's December exports rose 12.9 per cent from a year earlier, compared with the 11.2 per cent increase projected by economists polled by Bloomberg.

South Korea's Kospi index fell 0.5 per cent. New Zealand's NZX 50 Index added 0.2 per cent. Australia is shut for a holiday today, while China and Hong Kong markets have yet to start trading.

Futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 0.8 per cent today. The U.S. equity benchmark slipped 0.6 percent on Friday as disappointing results from United Parcel Service Inc. outweighed optimism central-bank stimulus outside the U.S. will boost global growth.