GLOBAL MARKETS-Japan stocks slip on US economy fears; gold rises

By @ibtimes on

Japanese stocks slipped on Tuesday amid signs of a slowdown in the U.S. economic recovery that pushed global stocks and oil prices lower a day earlier but there were few fresh factors to have a bearing.

The benchmark Nikkei average <.N225>, the key Asian market for overseas investors, has slumped more than 3 percent over the last three sessions, in line with a pullback in other risk assets as investors factor in the expected end of the U.S. Federal Reserve's stimulus programme in June.

The Nikkei was down 0.44 percent, while the broader Topix <.TOPX> was off 0.64 percent.

All eyes are now on commodities, said Takashi Ohba, a senior strategist at Okasan Securities. Normally falls in commodities would be considered positive for the economy, but these days that market has become a barometer for risk-taking -- commodities are lower, so everyone is in a 'risk-off' mood.

MSCI's index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> was down 0.21 percent, extending a two-week decline, but some markets, including Singapore, were closed for a holiday.

The dollar rose as high as around 81.20 yen after stop-loss buy orders were triggered slightly above 81 yen in a thin market.

The euro advanced to around 114.75 yen and $1.4152. It hit a 7-week low against the dollar the previous day and remains vulnerable due to concerns about the debt of peripheral euro zone countries.

The weekend arrest in New York of International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn on charges of attempted rape sent shock waves through French political circles and left the IMF in turmoil, but had no apparent effect on Asian markets.

U.S. crude futures extended declines on Tuesday amid the global economic concerns and as U.S. industry data was expected to show a fourth-straight rise in the top consumer's crude oil inventories.

ICE Brent for July was down 12 cents at $110.72 a barrel. U.S. crude futures for June delivery fell 16 cents to $97.25.

Gold edged higher and silver rebounded from a 5 percent drop the previous session, as some Asian physical buying offset the influence of a slightly stronger dollar.

Spot gold edged up to $1,494 an ounce. Inflation concerns rose in Europe as energy costs pushed up euro zone inflation in April, potentially adding to the appeal of bullion as a hedge.

Spot silver rose to $33.97, regaining ground from the five-percent decline the previous session.

Signs of a slowdown in the U.S. economic recovery pulled U.S. stocks and oil prices lower on Monday.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> lost 0.38 percent on Monday. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> fell 0.62 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> dropped 1.63 percent.

(Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Sugita Katyal)

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