December 4, 2012

Asian shares slip off nine-month high on weak U.S. data

By Masayuki Kitano Reuters Yahoo! Finance

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Asian shares slipped on Tuesday after a plunge in U.S. manufacturing activity hit Wall Street stocks and the dollar, while the euro hovered near a six-week high on optimism over Greece’s plan to buy back debt.

Declines in Asian stock markets suggested caution setting in after gains in recent weeks, with investors reluctant to chase shares higher amid continued gridlock in the U.S. Congress over proposals to avert the so-called fiscal cliff – $600 billion worth of tax increases and spending cuts that will be automatically triggered in early 2013.

European shares were expected to open lower, U.S. stock index futures eased and riskier assets such as commodities were also hit, with oil, copper and gold all losing ground.

“Oil markets are starting to come off on the weaker-than-expected manufacturing data and the fact that the U.S. economic outlook remains unclear,” said Natalie Rampono, commodity strategist at ANZ in Sydney.

“We are also seeing mixed headlines on the fiscal cliff negotiations, so markets have already taken on a cautious outlook on that account.”

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> fell 0.2 percent, backing away from a nine-month high reached on Monday.

Australian shares (.AXJO) eased 0.6 percent, while Japan’s benchmark Nikkei share average fell 0.3 percent. (.AX) (.T)

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