World Economy

Asia, Yahoo Shares Slip, Nikkei High

Asia, Yahoo Shares Slip, Nikkei HighAsia, Yahoo Shares Slip, Nikkei High

Asian shares slipped on Wednesday after a mixed day on Wall Street, though Japan's better-than-expected economic growth lifted the Nikkei to a 15-year high.

Yahoo Inc shares also fell 7.6 percent on concerns that a possible change in US tax regulations would affect Yahoo's planned spinoff of its stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Reuters reported.

The dollar scaled a two-month high against the yen after upbeat US housing data, and as the euro remained pressured by expectations that the European Central Bank would increase its bond-buying stimulus as well as on fresh concerns about Greece.

European shares were seen giving back some of the previous session's gains, with financial spreadbetters expecting Britain's FTSE 100 to open around 0.1 percent lower, and Germany's DAX  and France's CAC 40  were each seen down about 0.4 percent. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down about 0.2 percent.

But the Nikkei stock index  ended up 0.9 percent at a fresh 15-year peak, catching a tailwind from a weaker yen and after data showed Japan's economy grew at a 2.4 percent annualized rate in the January-March period. That was its fastest pace in a year, beating the consensus estimate for 1.5 percent growth.

Meanwhile, Yahoo Inc shares fell 7.6 percent. The change – discussed by a US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official in Washington – could complicate the plan announced by Yahoo in January to spin off its 15 percent stake in Alibaba tax free.

Yahoo said in a statement that it understood the IRS statement was not specific to Yahoo's planned spin-off of its remaining stake in Alibaba Group and its Small Business unit.

The company, which filed its pending ruling request for the Alibaba spinoff with the IRS in the first quarter of this year, said the IRS statement reflected no change in applicable law, and did not affect previously filed ruling requests.