Stocks hit by U.S. fiscal fears, weak yen lifts Nikkei

SINGAPORE Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:08am IST

A man looks at a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo November 7, 2012. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

A man looks at a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo November 7, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Toru Hanai

Related Topics

Stocks

   
Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers ride their camels as they rehearse for the "Beating the Retreat" ceremony in New Delhi January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

"Beating The Retreat" Rehearsals

Rehearsals are on for "Beating the Retreat" ceremony which symbolises retreat after a day on the battlefield, and marks the official end of the Republic Day celebrations.  Slideshow 

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Asian stocks mostly fell on Thursday, taking their lead from a drop in Wall Street shares as investors reacted to the prospect of drawn-out negotiations to avert the looming U.S. "fiscal cliff" by shedding riskier assets.

The retreat from risk also weighed on commodities, with the exception of oil, which jumped in the previous session due to rising tensions in the Middle East after Israel launched an offensive against Palestinian militants in Gaza.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.5 percent. But Tokyo's Nikkei rose 0.6 percent as the lift given to exporters by a sharp fall in the yen the previous day outweighed global concerns.

"U.S. stocks fell, and there are concerns about the developing situation in Israel, so sentiment is cautious and the outlook is cloudy and unclear," said Kenichi Hirano, operating officer at Tachibana Securities in Tokyo.

U.S. stocks fell more than 1 percent on Wednesday after President Barack Obama reiterated his call for the wealthy to pay higher taxes, setting the stage for a tough budget battle with Congressional Republicans.

Investors fear that the package of tax increases and spending cuts mandated to come into force next year if a deal is not agreed - the so-called fiscal cliff - will pitch the world's biggest economy back into recession.

Currency markets were little changed in early Asian trading, with the euro steady around $1.2730 and the yen at 80.17 to the dollar.

The yen had fallen the most against the dollar in two months on Wednesday after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda indicated he would call a snap election for next month.

Japan's main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, which favours further monetary policy easing by the central bank, leads in opinion polls and the prospect of an early election is regarded as negative for the yen.

U.S. crude traded down a few cents around $86.25 a barrel. Benchmark Brent crude had risen more than 1 percent on Wednesday towards $110 a barrel after Israel launched airstrikes in retaliation from rocket attacks on its territory, killing the military chief of Hamas.

Gold eased 0.1 percent to around $1,724 an ounce.

(Additional reporting by Dominic Lau and Lisa Twaronite in Tokyo; Editing by Michael Perry)

FILED UNDER:
Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

Reuters Showcase

Vodafone Ruling

Vodafone Ruling

Government will not appeal Vodafone tax ruling   Full Article 

Indian Railways

Indian Railways

Private refiners compete with state firm to sell diesel to railways   Full Article 

Ranbaxy Results

Ranbaxy Results

Dec-quarter net loss widens on forex loss  Full Article 

Market Eye

Market Eye

Sensex, Nifty retreat from record highs on profit-taking.  Full Article 

Tech Talk

Tech Talk

Apple takes high road in China smartphone standoff with Xiaomi.  Full Article 

Business Strategy

Business Strategy

Uber scraps commissions for its New Delhi taxis.  Full Article 

Job Cuts

Job Cuts

Sony to cut 1,000 jobs in smartphone business - sources.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage