Asian stocks slip from one-year high as Japan shares drop on yen

Pedestrians stand in front of an electric quotation board displaying the Nikkei key index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo on August 3.
Pedestrians stand in front of an electric quotation board displaying the Nikkei key index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo on August 3. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Asian stocks retreated from an almost one-year high on Wednesday (Aug 10) as Japanese shares dropped after the yen rebounded and as commodity companies led losses across the region.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.2 per cent to 138.35 as of 9:02 am in Tokyo after closing on Tuesday at the highest since Aug 11. Japan's Topix index lost 0.5 per cent, with exporters helping send the measure lower as the yen held a 0.6 per cent gain against the dollar.

"It's going to be quite tough for Japan with the yen strengthening," Nicholas Teo, a strategist at KGI Fraser Securities in Singapore, said by phone. "Japan has tried a lot of things to stimulate growth."

Wednesday's decline in Asian stocks comes after the Asian benchmark gauge climbed about 23 per cent from a February low, shrugging off the effects of Britain's vote to leave the European Union as central banks unleash further monetary easing while data spurs confidence in the world's largest economy. Still, a resumed decline in oil is weighing on investor optimism, and both Chinese and Japanese stocks have slumped this year even as the regional measure recovers.

South Korea's Kospi Index decreased 0.2 per cent on Wednesday. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.1 per cent, as did New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 Index. Markets in China and Hong Kong have yet to start trading.

Futures on the FTSE China A50 Index rose 0.2 per cent in most recent trading, while those on the Hang Seng Index climbed 0.5 per cent. The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.7 per cent on Tuesday to its highest close since July 26, led by consumer and industrial companies, amid signs of stabilization in the world's second-largest economy.

China's producer-price index fell 1.7 per cent in July from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said on Tuesday, the smallest decline in almost two years, while passenger-vehicle sales accelerated the most in 17 months. Data in coming days are projected to confirm the stabilization in growth achieved in the first half of this year continued into July.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index slipped 0.1 per cent. The US equity benchmark index added less than 0.1 per cent on Tuesday, hovering near a record.