Asian markets down on concern about Japan, US

Wednesday - 6/12/2013, 7:08am EDT

A woman walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo Monday, June 10, 2013. Asian markets rose Monday after U.S. jobs data helped allay concern the Fed might wind down its stimulus and Japan's prime minister promised new tax cuts. the regional heavyweight, soared 636.67 points, or 4.94 percent, to 13,514.20. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

JOE McDONALD
AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) -- Asian stocks fell Wednesday amid concern about a lack of new Japanese moves to calm bond markets and uncertainty about the outlook for U.S. monetary policy.

Oil prices stayed above $95 per barrel amid concern central bankers around the world might ease off measures to boost the global economy.

Investors were disappointed after Japan's central bank failed to deliver expected measures Tuesday to ease bond market volatility. Instead, the bank only upgraded its economic outlook.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225, the regional heavyweight, shed 0.2 percent to 13,289.32, after spiking up nearly 5 percent Monday after the prime minister promised new tax cuts. Markets in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan were closed for a holiday.

Seoul's Kospi shed 0.6 percent to 1,909.91 while Sydney's ASX S&P 200 fell 0.7 percent to 4,724.50. Singapore's FTSE Straits Times index lost 0.5 percent to 3,154.53 while India's Sensex lost 0.3 percent to 19,077.56. New Zealand also fell.

In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 was marginally down at 6,337.3. But Germany's DAX rose nearly 0.1 percent to 8,227.53 while France's CAC-40 gained 0.3 percent to 3,822.15.

"Riots in Istanbul, central banks raising stop signs, bond yields on the rise and equity markets skidding; brace yourselves, we are in for a very rough ride over the coming weeks," Evan Lucas, market strategist for IG in Melbourne, said in an email commentary.

On Wednesday, Indonesia's central bank raised interest it pays on overnight deposits by banks by 0.25 percentage points to 4.25 percent in response to capital outflows. Analysts had expected such a move but not so soon.

Uncertainty about China's recovery has weighed on markets following weekend data showing exports, retail sales and other indicators weaker than expected.

Trading this week has been lackluster following a volatile period that saw many major markets come off multiyear or even record highs.

Investors are closely watching the United States and whether the Federal Reserve eases its monetary stimulus. The Fed has been buying bonds to push down market interest rates.

On Wednesday, Dow Jones Industrial average futures gained 0.4 percent to 15,201 while the Standard & Poor's 500 futures rose 0.4 percent to 1,634.30.

Speculation that the Fed might wind down its stimulus had depressed stock prices but concern eased after last week's U.S. jobs data suggested a recovery might not be strong enough yet.

The euro has gained on easing expectations of tighter U.S. monetary policy despite uncertainty about the outlook for the 17 countries that use the common European currency. But on Wednesday, the euro slipped to $1.3290 from $1.3311 late Tuesday in New York. The dollar rose to 96.70 yen from 96.22 yen.

Benchmark crude for July delivery declined 5 cents to $95.32 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, the contract fell 39 cents to settle at $95.38.


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