Tokyo ends down after sharp reverse as Asia markets mostly slip
Japanese stocks ended the day in the red as it suffered a sharp reverse in afternoon trade after hitting fresh 26-year highs, with most other Asian markets also falling.
The Nikkei had ploughed two percent higher in the first session, supported by broad optimism in the global economy and healthy corporate results that have helped fuel a run across global equities.
However, analysts said investors had decided the rally was running a little too hot — Tokyo has piled on more than 20 percent since early September — and turned sellers in the afternoon.
The index closed down 0.2 percent, having fallen as much as 1.7 percent at one point in afternoon trade.
Seoul also ended down, losing 0.1 percent, Singapore shed the same amount in the afternoon, while Wellington, Taipei, Bangkok and Jakarta were all lower.
However, Shanghai closed 0.4 percent higher while Hong Kong finished 0.8 percent up, with traders cheering forecast-beating inflation figures from China that provided fresh hopes the huge economy is stabilising.
Sydney was up 0.6 percent.
In early European trade London fell 0.1 percent, while Paris and Frankfurt were each flat.
The dollar also suffered an afternoon retreat after holding up against its major peers.
Dealers were keeping tabs on Trump’s tax plans as Senate and House Republicans remain at odds over some issues including when cuts should be introduced and the target for the national deficit increase.
“We are seeing parts of the package jettisoned already and overnight House Speaker Paul Ryan seemed to offer an olive branch to the Senate’s version of the plan which appears to call for a delay in the implementation phase,” McKenna said.
However, Shane Chanel, equities and derivatives adviser at ASR Wealth Advisers, cautioned: “I fear that in a desperate bid to have this pushed through, there could be risks that the policy changes (are) watered down further as a compromise for this (being) implemented immediately.
“The market has priced in the tax reforms influence, and delays or significant changes to the proposals will lead to a typical market tantrum.”
On oil markets, prices edged up after a drop on Wednesday fuelled by figures showing a rise in US stockpiles.
However, tensions in the Middle East are keeping dealers on their toes following Saudi Arabia’s claim of “direct military aggression” by Iran over a Yemeni rebel missile attack near Riyadh.
There was little movement after news China and the United States had signed more than $250 billion in business deals including $37 billion worth of planes from Boeing as Donald Trump held talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing.
Trump decried Beijing’s “one-sided and unfair” trade surplus with his country, saying he did not blame China for the situation, instead hitting out at past White House administrations “for allowing this out-of-control trade deficit to take place and to grow”.
– Key figures around 0820 GMT –
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.2 percent at 23,868.71 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.8 percent at 29,136.57 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.4 at 3,427.79 (close)
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent at 7,521.65
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1608 from $1.1594 at 2200 GMT
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3136 from $1.3115
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 113.54 from 113.87 yen
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP five cents at $56.86 per barrel
Oil – Brent North Sea: UP seven cents at $63.56
New York – DOW: FLAT at 23,563.36 (close)
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