Asian Stocks Decline; Nikkei Down 1.5%

 
on January 23 2013 1:57 AM
Asian Stocks
A Tokyo Stock Exchange employee looks up at a monitor displaying market indices at the bourse in Tokyo. Reuters

Asian stock markets mostly fell on Wednesday, with the Japanese Nikkei reporting its first three-day decline in two months.

The Japanese benchmark Nikkei plunged 1.52 percent or 162.32 points to 10,547.61, Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.46 percent or 109.89 points to 23,549.10 and the Chinese Shanghai Composite declined 0.76 percent or 17.69 points to 2,297.45, while the Indian benchmark BSE Sensex rose 0.20 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI Composite slipped 0.26 percent.

Japanese stocks extended losses for the third straight session on Wednesday as the stronger yen weighed on exporters. The yen snapped out of its weak run and strengthened against the U.S. dollar after the Bank of Japan (BoJ) announced on Tuesday that the new scheme for additional asset purchases comes into effect only in January 2014.

In addition, the Japanese Central Bank raised its inflation target to 2 percent from 1 percent on Tuesday, and it announced open-ended asset purchase plans. The central bank will purchase 13 trillion yen ($145 billion) in assets every month, beginning in January 2014, including 2 trillion yen in Japanese government bonds and about 10 trillion yen in treasury bills. But market participants were disappointed as the additional asset buying will not commence until 2014.

“The yen currently is in an upward correction phase after it weakened rapidly in the past two months. The market was somewhat disappointed in that no deadline has been set for the inflation target and that the open-ended asset purchases don’t start until 2014,” Noriaki Murao, managing director of the marketing group at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in New York, told Bloomberg.

Export companies' shares led the declines in Tokyo. Nissan Motor Co Ltd. declined 2.77 percent and Pioneer Corp. plunged 5.96 percent, while TDK Corp. declined 4.15 percent.

China Resources Land Ltd. fell 1.71 percent and Henderson Land Development Co Ltd. declined 2.70 percent in Hong Kong, while Jiangxi Copper Co Ltd. plunged 2.12 percent in Shanghai.

In Seoul, Hyundai Motor Co. gained 1.63 percent and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. fell 0.47 percent, while Woori Finance Holdings Co Ltd. plunged 3.17 percent.

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