World Economy

Asian Shares Wilt, Dollar Off Highs

Asian Shares Wilt, Dollar Off Highs
Asian Shares Wilt, Dollar Off Highs

Asian shares got off to a lackluster start on Wednesday after a plunge in oil prices dragged down US shares, while the dollar took a breather after this week’s rally.

Crude prices steadied after falling to multi-year lows on news top oil exporter Saudi Arabia cut its US sales prices, Reuters reported.

The dollar dipped as investors locked in profits after this week’s rally, while a Reuters report saying central bankers in the eurozone plan to challenge European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s leadership style underpinned the euro.

“We do not expect further easing at Thursday’s ECB meeting but it may give more insight into its new asset purchase programs,” strategists at Barclays said.

Japan’s Nikkei index rose with exporters boosted by the dollar’s rise against the yen.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index, which closed at a seven-year high on Tuesday, rose another 0.4% to 16,937.32.

Shares in Toyota closed up 0.1% ahead of its earnings release.

Its results showed that operating profit rose 11.3% in the second quarter from the previous year, above market expectations. The carmaker also raised its full-year profit forecast.

In China, the market in Hong Kong closed down 0.63% with the Hang Seng index at 23,695.62 points.

Investor sentiment was affected earlier in the day by news that growth in China’s services sector fell to the lowest pace in three months in October, according to a survey from HSBC/Markit.

The services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 52.9 in October from 53.5 in September. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.

The Shanghai Composite finished down 0.47% at 2,419.25 points.

In Australia, shares ended lower with weaker iron ore, copper and oil prices dragging down the heavyweight miners.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index edged down 0.04% to 5,517.90 points.

BHP Billiton shares lost 0.6%, while Rio Tinto was 0.3% lower.

In South Korea, the Kospi index finished down 0.2% at 1,931.43 points.

The won, meanwhile, fell to a new nine-month low after the Bank of Japan governor said the benefits of a weaker yen outweighed the costs as long as it was in line with economic fundamentals.

The won slumped to 1,083.6 against the dollar.

On Wall Street on Tuesday, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite ended lower after the big drop in oil prices, while the Dow Jones industrial average eked out a small gain, with energy shares under pressure from low oil prices.

In commodities trading, US crude futures edged up about 0.1 percent to $77.28 after reaching the lowest intraday price since October 2011 on Tuesday.