Asian shares pressured by emerging markets turmoil

TOKYO Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:18am IST

Pedestrians walk past an electronic board showing various stock prices, which are reflected in a polished stone surface, outside a brokerage in Tokyo January 24, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

Pedestrians walk past an electronic board showing various stock prices, which are reflected in a polished stone surface, outside a brokerage in Tokyo January 24, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Yuya Shino

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian shares were pinned near five-month lows on Tuesday as turmoil in emerging markets and concerns about an economic slowdown in China took their toll.

Disappointing guidance from Apple Inc AAPl.O also looks set to hit regional technology stocks.

The world's most valuable technology firm missed Wall Street's target for iPhone sales over the crucial holiday shopping season and offering a weaker-than-expected forecast for this quarter, sending its shares down more than 8 percent after the bell.

Japanese shares look set to extend losses further from a 2 1/2-month low hit on Monday.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.2 percent to a five-month low, extending a 3.8 percent loss in the past three days.

Expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will scale back its bond buying further have put pressure on risk assets, especially emerging markets dependent on external financing as the Fed kicks off its two-day policy meeting later in the day.

Tighter credit conditions in China as Beijing seeks to curb growth in high-risk lending has added to the gloom, with investors worried that the world's second-largest economy could slow further.

The Turkish lira, which has been leading the rout in emerging currencies amid a corruption scandal that has rocked Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government, rebounded from a record low after the central bank called an emergency meeting on Tuesday.

Turkey's central bank is expected to raise rates to defend the sagging lira after its decision not to do so last week had send the lira in a freefall. Its policy statement is due at 2200 GMT.

"The market is expecting a rate hike of one percent or more and possible capital controls. Whether their steps can calm markets is one big area of focus," said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief strategist at Praevidentia Strategy.

The lira stood at 2.282 to the dollar after after hitting a record low of 2.39.

The Indian central bank will be also holding a policy meeting later in the day, though the bank is expected to keep rates on hold.

The Indian rupee has softened over the past couple of days but has been spared the sort of sharp selloff that has pummelled the Turkish lira, the Brazilian real and South African rand.

Investors could also draw some comfort from the news that a Chinese trust firm had reached an agreement to resolve a troubled high-yield investment product, just days away from what could have been a precedent-setting default in China's shadow banking system.

Yet concerns over rapid expansion of China's shadow banking sector, a key source of financing for local corporations, could fester over the medium-term as China's economic growth is seen slowing.

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