Asian shares down, yen stays strong

Asian shares down, yen stays strong

HONG KONG - Asian markets slipped Friday, despite a positive lead from Wall Street after a mixed bag of earnings reports, as the strong yen dragged down Japanese stocks.

Upbeat consumer prices data from Japan - excluding fuel costs and volatile fresh food prices - showed an on-year rise for the fourth consecutive month in September.

But it failed to lift sentiment amid ongoing concerns over whether the government's much-touted "Abenomics" growth-blitz will reverse two decades of stagnant growth and falling prices.

Tokyo tumbled 2.75 per cent or 398.22 points to 14,088.19, while Seoul slipped 0.6 per cent or 12.30 points to 2,034.39. Sydney bucked the regional trend by adding 0.25 per cent or 13.4 points to finish at 5,386.3.

Shanghai ended down 1.45 per cent or 31.36 points to 2,132.96, and Hong Kong fell 0.6 per cent or 137.48 points to 22,698.34.

The dollar was changing hands at 97.06 yen in Tokyo on Friday, from 97.29 yen in New York on Thursday, with the greenback under pressure over speculation the US Federal Reserve would delay winding down its monetary easing plan.

"Enthusiasm for equities remains strong as Japanese corporates enter the meat of earnings reporting season," said SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi.

"However, further upside is progressively difficult for the market with little potential seen for the dollar to rise much beyond current levels," Nishi said.

A strong yen is a negative for Japanese exporters as it makes their products less competitive abroad and erode income when repatriated.

In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.62 per cent or 95.88 points to 15,509.21, while the broad-based S&P 500 added 0.33 per cent or 5.69 points to 1,752.07.

Peter Cardillo, director of investment research at Rockwell Global Capital, said the market is "feeding on itself" amid recent momentum and confidence the Federal Reserve will maintain an aggressive stimulus policy.

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