Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

Asian share prices mostly lower as Wall Street rally fades

Asian share prices mostly lower as Wall Street rally fades

It added 0.6% to its value to end at 23,849.99 when the markets reopened following a public holiday on Monday - its highest level since November 1991.

Japan's Nikkei share average took a breather on Wednesday after sharp gains, with some index-heavy stocks losing ground after the index hit a 26-year high in the previous session.

JAPAN CENTRAL BANK: A drop in the scale of long-term bond purchases by the Bank of Japan on Tuesday has triggered speculation over further "tapering" of asset purchases.

Tokyo stocks opened higher on Tuesday after closing at a new 26-year-high last week and following fresh records on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq that encouraged investor sentiment.

Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR last fell 10/32 in price to yield 2.5825 percent, from 2.546 percent late on Tuesday.

"We don't necessarily see this as a signal of impending policy change, but investors are very sensitive to the overall monetary policy backdrop, especially out of the major central banks", said John Briggs, head of Americas strategy at NatWest Markets in Stamford, Connecticut.

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But the dollar's upward momentum was tempered as investors differed on the pace of tightening while USA inflation remains relatively cool. Overall trading activity remained somewhat subdued, however, with a lack of major USA economic data keeping some traders on the sidelines. Australia's S&P ASX 200 slipped 0.6 percent to 6,096.70. "Investors are buying into that", said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.

While payrolls missed forecasts, the report was ideal for equities given unemployment stayed low but with little sign of the inflationary pressures that would make the Federal Reserve more aggressive in tightening policy. February WTI oil gained $1.23, or 2 percent, to settle at $62.96 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest finish since December 2014.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rival currencies, edged down 0.1 per cent to 92.269.

The dollar index.DXY rose 0.16 percent, with the euro EUR= down 0.26 percent to $1.1934.

Oil prices reached their highest since 2015 helped in part by political tensions in Iran, the third-largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

US crude rose 49 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $62.22 a barrel, while Brent crude added 44 cents, or 0.7 per cent, to $68.22. Brent crude, the worldwide standard, gained 47 cents to $68.25 per barrel.

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