Asian stocks slip as oil woes sap sentiment, euro stands tall

Pedestrians are reflected in a stock market and currency indicator board in Tokyo.
Pedestrians are reflected in a stock market and currency indicator board in Tokyo.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Asian stocks slipped on Wednesday (Nov 15) after weaker crude oil prices took a toll on Wall Street, while the euro kept big gains after enjoying a boost from robust German economic growth.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.16 per cent.

Australian stocks dropped 0.48 per cent and South Korea's KOSPI shed 0.5 per cent. Japan's Nikkei lost 0.8 per cent.

"The decline by US equities led by energy shares is having a knock-on effect, dampening sentiment in sectors related to energy and industry," said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management in Tokyo.

"Broadly speaking equities had enjoyed an almost uninterrupted run for the past few months, so we are seeing a bit of a correction finally emerging."

All three major US stock indexes dipped on Tuesday as an extended drop in crude oil prices hit energy shares and as General Electric plunged for a second straight day.

The euro stood little changed at $1.1793 after rising 1.1 per cent overnight to a 2-1/2-week high ofUS$1.1805 as data showed Germany's economy shifted into a higher gear in the third quarter.

Germany's seasonally adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 0.8 per cent on the quarter, compared with a Reuters poll forecast of 0.6 per cent.

Pressured by the euro's surge, the dollar index against a basket of six major currencies lost about 0.7 per cent overnight before bouncing back modestly to 93.881..

The greenback was steady at 113.420 yen after pulling back from a high of 113.910 the previous day.

The immediate focus for the US dollar, and a potential catalyst, was data on US consumer prices due later in the global day.

In commodities, crude oil prices stretched losses, weighed by forecasts for rising U.S. crude output and a gloomier outlook for global demand growth in a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

US crude futures were down 1.15 percent at $55.06 per barrel and on track for their fourth day of losses.

With oil prices having slid steadily from 28-month highs scaled last week, commodity currencies came under pressure.

The Australian dollar traded at US$0.7630 and within reach of a four-month low of US$0.7609 plumbed on Tuesday.