January 16, 2013 at 12:00 PM EST
Japan, Asian stocks tumble
Wednesday, January 16, 2013 Japan, Asian stocks tumble Asian markets mostly declined Wednesday, with Japanese stocks skidding on a firmer yen and shares in Hong Kong weakening as financials lost ground. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Index capsized 278.64 points, or 2.6%, to 10,600.44, after hitting a near-three-year high on Tuesday. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index dropped 24.52 points, or 0.1%, to 23,356.99 Losses for Japanese stocks Wednesday came as the dollar traded at 88.07 yen, down from ¥88.92 in late North American trading on Tuesday. The yen jumped against the dollar, bucking its recent downward trend, following reports the country’s economy minister Amira Amari will attend the next Bank of Japan meeting. Companies that have seen some gains in recent sessions amid yen weakness pared some of that strength on Wednesday. Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. fell 2.9%, Nikon Corp. down 4.6% and Honda Motor Co. dropped 3%. Heavyweight retailer Fast Retailing Co. fell 4.6% after a downgrade to neutral from buy at Goldman Sachs, with the broker saying that the firm’s earnings outlook has now largely been priced in, Dow Jones Newswires reported. Shares of All Nippon Airways Co. fell 1.6%, but outperformed the broader market. Japanese broadcaster NHK reported the airline was to ground its entire fleet of 17 Boeing Co. Dreamliners after a 787 aircraft made an emergency landing as it headed toward western Japan. Rival Japan Airlines Co. rose 1.8%, shrugging off reports that it would also ground its Dreamliners Wednesday. The airline has a fleet of 7 Dreamliner planes, with five currently in service, the Wall Street Journal reported. Wednesday saw mainland Chinese financials retreat in Hong Kong, pulling back after recent gains. Bank of Communications Co. dropped 1.3% and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. fell 0.7%. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. fell 1.6% in the energy sector, while China Coal Energy Co. slid 1.3%. South Korean trading saw gains for auto makers, in contrast to Japan, with Hyundai Motor Co. up 0.7%, and affiliate Kia Motors Corp. 2.3% higher. However, technology heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co. fell 1.3% and LG Electronics Inc. declined 1.4% to weigh on the market. In Australian trading, healthcare stocks were outperforming, as blood products group CSL Ltd. gained 3.5% and hearing aid firm Cochlear Ltd. advanced 0.9%. CHINA On the Chinese mainland, losses were also concentrated in financials. The Shanghai CSI 300 subtracted 18.76 points, or 0.7 %, to 2,577.09 Bank of Communications Co. was down 1.6%, and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. was off 2.1%. Property firms also sagged, with Gemdale Corp. down 2.9% and Poly Real Estate Group Co. 3.4% lower. In other markets In Singapore, the Straits Times Index added 12.43 points, or 0.4%, to 3,208.50 Korea’s Kospi Index doffed 6.29 points, or 0.3%, to 1,977.45 Taiwan’s Taiex Index fell 64.59 points, or 0.8%, to 7,700.43 The NZX 50 erased 1.72 points to 4,169.23 Australia’s ASX Index gained 21.89 points, or 0.5%, to 4,738.45
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