The dollar held on to its previous day’s gains against the yen yesterday September 16 after Japan stepped into the currency market but Asian stocks were lower as traders took profits from recent advances.
Traders in Japan were buoyed by comments from Prime Minister Naoto Kan saying the government would take “resolute actions” in currency markets when necessary but the yen began to inch back up as jitters returned to the market.
“We are determined not to allow the drastic fluctuation of the yen,” Kan told a business conference in Tokyo, in comments that indicate he is prepared to step in to rein in the yen again.
TOKYO: Trade the US dollar was at 85.36 yen, from 85.72 in New York late on Wednesday. But the yen’s level was sharply lower than a 15-year high of 82.86 to the US dollar reached on Wednesday morning in Tokyo, moments before Japan stepped in to dump the yen for the first time since 2004.
Shares in Tokyo edged down 7.06 points to 9,509.50 as traders took profits following a 2.34 percent surge on Wednesday.
SYDNEY slumped 1.21 perc ent, or 56.2 points, to 4,605.3.
Regional markets had seen four days of broad-based gains, which were helped this week by an agreement by central banks on a new set of rules to help boost lenders’ defences against another financial meltdown.
SHANGHAI was down 1.89 percent, or 50.04 points, at 2,602.46 with banks leading the decline amid concerns that the central bank could soon raise interest rates, dealers said.
HONG KONG: Share slipped 0.16 percent after a five-day winning streak and on concerns of a possible rate hike by Chinese authorities to stem inflation.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 34.19 points to 21,691.45 on turnover of HK$ 69.39 billion.
Chinese shares closed down 1.89 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index, which covers both A and B shares, was down 50.04 points at 2,602.46 on turnover of 128.5 billion yuan.
SINGAPORE: The benchmark index dropped 0.1 percent to 3,067.11 at the close.
Shares on the measure trade at an average 14.9 times estimated earnings, compared with 17.4 times at the beginning of the year.
Among the most active shares were City Developments which slipped 0.5 percent to S$11.60, Keppel Land which fell 2.6 percent to S$4.07 and Allgreen Properties which fell 0.9 percent to S$1.13.
In other markets:
SEOUL closed 0.66 percent, or 12.03 points, lower at 1,811.85.
TAIPEI fell 0.78 percent, or 64.07 points, to 8,099.75. Neo Solar Power Corp was 7 percent down at 75.2 Taiwan dollars while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was 1.14 percent lower at 60.5 Taiwan dollars.
MANILA rose 0.80 percent, or 31.98 points, to end at 4,005.46.
WELLINGTON edged up 0.35 points to 3,195.63. Fisher & Paykel Appliances closed up 5.2 percent at 61 New Zealand cents and Fletcher Building fell 0.3 percent NZ$8.33 and Steel & Tube fell 2 percent to NZ$2.50.
VIETNAM: The VN Index slightly rose 0.8 point or 0.18 percent to 449.52 points. the HNX Index increased by 1.19 points or 0.94 percent to 128.4 points with total market trade of over 26 million shares valued at 635 billion dong.
EUROPE: Shares closed lower yesterday as investors worried that high US jobless numbers, despite falls in weekly claims, and disappointing British retail sales could signal a slowdown in the pace of economic recovery.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares provisionally closed 0.8 percent lower at 1,076.35 points to hit its lowest closing level in a week.
UK retailers were among the decliners, with Next, Marks & Spencer and Home Retail down 0.2 to 0.8 percent.
In London, the FTSE 100 index of leading shares closed down 0.28 percent at 5,540.14 points. In Paris, the CAC 40 index lost 0.52 percent to 3,736.30 points and in Frankfurt, the DAX slipped 0.20 percent to 6,249.65 points.
AMERICA: Stocks struggled to a mixed finish Thursday as a two-week rally lost momentum. News of a retrenchment by FedEx Corp. also discouraged buyers.
Stocks have been rising for most of September, but on unusually weak volume as skepticism lingers about the economy. FedEx, an economic bellwether, darkened the mood with an announcement that it would eliminate 1,700 jobs in an effort to save its money-losing U.S. trucking business.
Traders were becoming wary as the Standard & Poor’s S&P 500 index, the benchmark most used by professional investors, approached the high end of its recent trading range. Investors are often hesitant to push a major index outside of recently tested limits for fear that automated selling programs could kick in and send prices lower.
According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 22.10, or 0.2 percent, to close at 10,594.83. The Dow has now risen in 10 of the last 12 days, but it’s still 5.5 percent below its 2010 closing high level reached on April 26.
Broader indexes were mixed. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.4, or 0.04 percent, to 1,124.66. The index is still up 7.2 percent for September, which is usually a weak month for stocks.
About three stocks fell for every two that rose on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated volume was low at 3.5 billion shares. Trading volume has been very low in recent weeks as many investors sit on the sidelines. That could leave the market vulnerable if sentiment suddenly worsens.
The mixed day on Wall Street came despite some encouraging news on the economy. The Labor Department said first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell to a two-month low last week to 450,000. They’re still well below levels that suggest economic growth.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 2.76 percent from 2.72 percent late Wednesday. Its yield is used to help set interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans.
Benchmark Currency Rates USD EUR JPY GBP CHF CAD AUD HKD HKD 7.7661 10.151 0.0905 12.126 7.6425 7.5638 7.2714 AUD 1.068 1.396 0.0124 1.6676 1.051 1.0402 0.1375 CAD 1.0268 1.3421 0.012 1.6032 1.0104 0.9613 0.1322 CHF 1.0162 1.3282 0.0118 1.5867 0.9897 0.9514 0.1308 GBP 0.6405 0.8371 0.0075 0.6303 0.6238 0.5997 0.0825 JPY 85.809 112.1609 133.98 84.443 83.573 80.343 11.049 EUR 0.7651 0.0089 1.1946 0.7529 0.7451 0.7163 0.0985 USD 1.3071 0.0117 1.5614 0.9841 0.9739 0.9363 0.1288 Bloomberg