Asia dips as weak results halt bull run on Wall Street, STI down 0.2%

Pedestrians are watching a display showing closing information of the Nikkei Stock Average in Tokyo, Japan July 19.
Pedestrians are watching a display showing closing information of the Nikkei Stock Average in Tokyo, Japan July 19.PHOTO: EPA

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Asian stocks dipped early on Friday (July 22) after weak corporate results halted Wall Street's record run overnight, while the yen held to large gains made after the Bank of Japan's governor downplayed the need for "helicopter money" monetary policies.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.1 per cent but is still headed for a 0.4 per cent gain on the week. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.4 per cent and Australian shares dropped 0.2 per cent.

Singapore's Straits Times Index was 0.23 per cent lower at 2,933.61 as of 9.26am.

Japan's Nikkei slid 1 per cent, dragged down by the yen's rally on Thursday. The index was still poised to rise 0.9 per cent this week, during which it touched an eight-week high thanks to an initially weaker yen and fiscal and monetary stimulus hopes.

The US dollar stood little changed at 105.84 yen after coming off its peak of 107.49, its highest in six weeks, the previous day.

According to a BBC interview, recorded mid-June but broadcast on Thursday, BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda ruled out the idea of using "helicopter money" - or directly underwriting the budget deficit - to combat deflation.

"It seems the BOJ are not in a position to conduct 'Helicopter Money', or what could also be known as money-financed fiscal programs," wrote Mr Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG in Melbourne. "The fact we've only seen a modest recovery in the USD/JPY pair suggests traders see very little appetite for this uber unconventional policy change."

The euro was steady at US$1.1025. The common currency had briefly risen to US$1.1060 on Thursday after European Central Bank president Mario Draghi's comments indicated less support for future policy easing than previously expected.

As widely anticipated, the ECB stood pat on monetary policy on Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Thursday snapped a nine-day winning streak, during which it hit consecutive record highs, due to disappointing results from Intel and key transportation companies.

In commodities, crude remained on the back foot after tumbling about 2 per cent overnight as data pointed to record US stockpiles of gasoline and other oil products, heightening supply glut concerns.

US crude was down 0.2 per cent at US$44.67 a barrel, poised for a 2.7 per cent fall this week in which they touched a two-month low.

Spot gold edged up 0.1 per cent to US$1,332.00 an ounce. The precious metal had gained more than 1 per cent overnight, pulling away from a three-week low, thanks to a pullback by the dollar.

The dollar index was down 0.3 per cent at 96.852, nudged further away from a four-month peak of 97.323 scaled on Wednesday.