Asian Shares Retreat On US Fiscal Concerns

on December 13 2012 9:40 PM

 

Asian shares snapped a weeklong winning streak Friday, tracking global equities lower on worries that U.S. lawmakers are still too far apart to avert a year-end fiscal crisis.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.2 percent, having hit successive 16-month highs since Dec. 5 to Thursday, Reuters reported. A seven-day rally in world shares came to a halt and commodity prices slipped on Thursday after negotiations over the U.S. "fiscal cliff" hit a wall.

Australian shares eked out a 0.2 percent rise, with prices capped by the U.S. budget concerns and a higher local currency, while South Korean shares opened down 0.7 percent, retreating from a two-month high on Thursday.

Japan's Nikkei opened down 0.4 percent after climbing above 9,700 for the first time in eight months on Thursday.

The dollar advanced to its highest in nearly nine months against the yen of 83.68 yen on Friday. The euro stood at 109.40 yen, just a tad below an eight-month high of 109.55, and looked set to end the week more than 2 percent higher on the yen.

Data on Thursday shed some hopeful signs for the U.S. economy, with new claims for jobless benefits falling sharply to a near four-year low last week while retail sales rebounded in November.

Later in the session, investors will receive fresh clues over China's economic state when HSBC's early reading of China's December manufacturing activity is released at 0145 GMT.

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