World Economy

Asian Stocks Slip, Yen and Gold Gain as Global Risks Rise

Asian Stocks Slip, Yen and Gold Rise as Global Risks Rise
Asian Stocks Slip, Yen and Gold Rise as Global Risks Rise

Most Asia stock markets retreated Wednesday as rising geopolitical risks kept investors on edge, with Japanese shares leading the decline after the strengthening yen breached a key level.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index tumbled 1.3% to 18,497.71 after the dollar fell under 110 yen for the first time in five months, pressuring the country’s exporters. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.2% to 24,053.03 and the Shanghai Composite in mainland China lost 0.2% to 3,281.46. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.1% to 5,921.90 but South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.1% to 2,126.37. Shares in Southeast Asia were mixed, AP reported.

Investors are cautious as world events this week complicate the investment outlook. Tensions are rising over North Korea, which threatened the US against making any military moves after Washington sent an aircraft carrier to the divided Korean Peninsula. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Moscow with the aim of getting Russia to ditch its ally Syria following last week’s chemical attack. France’s election later in the month is also giving investors a reason to hunker down and avoid taking any big risks.

The dollar fell to a five-month low against the yen as investors seeking security amid global uncertainty piled into the Japanese currency, which is traditionally seen as a haven. The dollar weakened to 109.42 yen from 110.94 yen late Monday, the first time it has broken past the 110 level since mid-November. The euro slipped to $1.0603 from $1.0604.

Gold, another asset sought by nervous investors, continued to gain, rose $3.80, or 0.3%, to a five-month high of $1,278.00 an ounce.

Major US benchmarks ended with little change. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.1% to 2,353.78. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 0.03% to 20,651.30. The Nasdaq composite index slipped 0.2% to 5,866.77.

Benchmark US crude extended its rally. Oil rose 11 cents to $53.51 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 32 cents to close at $53.40 a barrel on Thursday, its sixth gain in a row. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, added 16 cents to $56.39 a barrel.



Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints