Asian Stocks Decline as Jump in Yen Weighs on Japanese Exporters

  • Australian banks fall as jobs report dampens rate cut bets
  • Yen rose most against dollar since start of September

Asian stocks fell, with the benchmark index extending a two-month low, as the yen’s biggest gain in three months weighed on Japanese exporters and Australian bank shares declined.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.2 percent to 129.89 as of 2:14 p.m. in London. Japan’s Topix index lost 1 percent after the yen jumped 1.2 percent against the dollar on Wednesday, the most since Sept. 1. The regional equity measure is on course for its worst week since September, fueled by a rout in commodities and concern about decelerating Chinese growth, just days before the Federal Reserve decides whether to raise U.S. interest rates.

“If you’ve got cash you’re better off hanging on to it and seeing how this plays out,” said Don Williams, Sydney-based chief investment officer at Platypus Asset Management Ltd. “It’s going to get more difficult into the next calendar year and earnings growth is waning. We’re pretty circumspect.”

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.8 percent. Banks fell after a report showed the nation’s employers recorded the biggest back-to-back monthly job gains in almost 28 years, lowering chances for more central bank stimulus. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the nation’s largest lender, lost 1.7 percent. BHP Billiton Ltd. rose 1.9 percent, paring this year’s drop to 36 percent.

The Kospi index added 0.2 percent after the Bank of Korea left its benchmark rate unchanged for a sixth consecutive month as board members opted to wait for the Federal Reserve’s anticipated rate increase and assess its effects on the global economy and markets.

Rate Decision

New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index retreated 0.2 percent and the nation’s dollar jumped after the central bank cut its key interest rate and said the record-low level should enable it to meet its inflation target.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 0.5 percent, as did the Shanghai Composite Index. Turnover plunged to the lowest level in a month in Shanghai on Wednesday. Taiwan’s Taiex Index lost 0.2 percent and Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 0.4 percent. India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index added 0.9 percent.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.2 percent. The underlying equity gauge fell 0.8 percent on Wednesday, reversing an earlier advance as technology shares retreated. Traders see a 78 percent chance the Fed will raise rates next week.

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