Global Markets: Asian shares ease

Masayuki Doshida, senior market analyst at Rakuten Securities, said the Japanese stock market was also underpinned by expectations that the Bank of Japan will follow the Fed with its own stimulus measures, to stem the yen's appreciation after the Fed's move last week. The BOJ ends its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday. The yen traded at 78.59 to the dollar, off a one-week low of 78.93 touched on Monday. The Fed's move undermined the dollar and lifted the yen to a seven-month high of 77.13 on Thursday.


The dollar index measured against a basket of key currencies stayed near Friday's 6- /2 month low of 78.601.

The euro eased 0.1 percent to $1.3102, slipping from a 4-1/2 month high of $1.31729 hit on Monday.

A pause in post-QE3 euphoria saw major asset classes pare recent advances. Lingering concern at Spain's brave fiscal face, geopolitical tension in the Middle East and in China/Japan, and a disappointing NY regional manufacturing report all weighed on sentiment, said Sean Callow, senior currency strategist at Westpac in Sydney, in a research note.

Oil rose, with U.S. crude oil futures and Brent futures both up 0.4 percent to $96.97 a barrel and $114.20 respectively. A sudden slide in oil on Monday triggered selling across commodities, although the cause of the drop was unclear. Copper fell 0.2 percent to $8,285 a tonne.

Spot gold fell 0.2 percent to $1,756.64 an ounce, below a 6-1/2-month high of $1,777.51 hit on Friday.

Gold has been rising steadily so it's natural that profit taking takes place in the short term, said Yuichi Ikemizu, branch manager for Standard Bank in Tokyo.

But over the longer term, the Fed's accommodative stance will stoke inflation fears and undervalue the dollar and bolster gold's appeal as a hedge against these factors, he said, adding that he expected firm support at $1,730, with markets likely to test last year's peak above $1,900 before the end of the year.

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