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Jan. 8, 2013, 3:48 a.m. EST

Asian stocks retreat; firm yen pressures Tokyo

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By V. Phani Kumar and Sarah Turner, MarketWatch

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Asian stocks fell Tuesday as investors locked in profits after strong recent gains and on caution ahead of the U.S. earnings season, with Japanese shares dropping as the yen strengthened.

Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.13%  and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.15%  each ended 0.9% lower.

China’s Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/206600939/delayed CN:000001 -3.42%  and Taiwan’s Taiex  gave up 0.4% each, South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -0.93%  slid 0.7%, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.04%  shed 0.6%.

“News flow [is] light and investors cautious after the recent rally, but I think we continue to see newly allocated monies continuing to support the market,” said Hong Kong-based market commentator Andrew Sullivan.

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Fires rage across southern Australia

Wildfires are raging through parts of southern Australia, leaving behind a path of destruction.

The decline came after a lower finish on Wall Street Monday, before the start of the fourth-quarter earnings season this week, with markets also watching political developments to resolve the debt ceiling issue. Read: U.S. stocks retreat after last week’s climb.

Several exporters weakened in Tokyo as the dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY -0.3487%  slipped to ¥87.44 from ¥87.83 in late North American trading on Monday and ¥88.13 on Friday. Read: Dollar falls as traders watch ECB, Fed.

The drop for Tokyo stocks came even as Kyodo News reported, citing unnamed sources close to the matter, that Japan’s emergency fiscal stimulus package to boost its economy will be worth more than 20 trillion yen ($229 billion).

Furthermore, the yen advanced as ministers were quoted in other media reports as saying the government will make a 2% inflation target part of a new policy accord with the Bank of Japan, but won’t set a deadline for reaching that target.

“[The] yen appears to be stabilizing as investors wait for the next Bank of Japan meeting,” said Sullivan, adding that traders were also mindful of technical indicators suggesting the market was “overbought.”

Mazda Motor Corp. /zigman2/quotes/204777714/delayed JP:7261 -1.86% /zigman2/quotes/206646681/delayed MZDAF -0.46%  fell 5%, Nissan Motor Co. /zigman2/quotes/208298710/delayed JP:7201 -0.87%   /zigman2/quotes/207656007/delayed NSANY -1.59%  dropped 1.1% and Casio Computer Co. /zigman2/quotes/202492162/delayed JP:6952 +0.30% /zigman2/quotes/206719136/delayed CSIOY +1.10%  lost 3.1%.

Consumer electronics firm Sharp Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203224600/delayed JP:6753 -1.49%   /zigman2/quotes/207472799/delayed SHCAF -2.81% managed to buck the lower trend, rebounding 3.9% from recent losses. The stock is still down more than 3% so far this month.

Also ranking among decliners, Aozora Bank Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202607094/delayed JP:8304 -0.21% /zigman2/quotes/204479122/delayed AOZOY +0.15%  extended steep losses from the previous session — when reports emerged that Cerberus Capital would sell most of its stake — with a 4% decline.

/zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed NIK 23,827.18, +31.74, +0.13%
/zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY 108.8970, -0.3810, -0.3487%
Nikkei Vs. Dollar-yen
One-month price chart

In Hong Kong, meanwhile, losses were led by profit-taking in energy, insurance and property sectors after their strong performance recently.

Shares of China Resources Land Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/209191868/delayed CRBJY +0.04% /zigman2/quotes/202417326/delayed HK:1109 -0.73%  dropped 2.7%, oil major Cnooc Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/204964401/composite CEO -1.27% /zigman2/quotes/203421416/delayed HK:883 +0.31%  fell 1.8% and China Life Insurance Co. /zigman2/quotes/202359856/delayed HK:2628 -0.24%   /zigman2/quotes/206573290/composite LFC -1.66%  lost 3.3%.

Elsewhere in the region, South Korean heavyweight Samsung Electronics Inc. /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 -2.41%   /zigman2/quotes/202367843/delayed SSNLF 0.00%  fell 1.1% after announcing fourth-quarter operating profit and sales guidance figures that broadly met analyst estimates. Read: Samsung estimates record profit in fourth quarter.

Major miners declined in Sydney, with BHP Billiton Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/208108397/composite BHP -2.16% /zigman2/quotes/201448516/delayed AU:BHP -1.53%  dropping 0.8% and Rio Tinto Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202627887/composite RIO -1.95% /zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed AU:RIO -2.83%  shedding 1.2%.

But with Nymex light sweet crude futures staying over $93 a barrel in electronic trading, the energy sector provided support. Santos Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/207349564/delayed AU:STO +0.23%   /zigman2/quotes/207933640/delayed STOSF +0.08%  climbed 0.8% and sector heavyweight Woodside Petroleum Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/203437212/delayed AU:WPL +0.40% /zigman2/quotes/206770672/delayed WOPEF -1.96%  gained 1%.

Also, high-yielding defensive firms attracted buyers, with telecom giant Telstra Corp. /zigman2/quotes/201936124/delayed AU:TLS -0.51% /zigman2/quotes/202275272/delayed TTRAF +0.38% edging up 0.2%.

Insurer QBE Insurance Group Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/207050271/delayed AU:QBE +0.44% /zigman2/quotes/201857553/delayed QBEIF +6.17% lost 2.1%, as fires continued to threaten homes and properties in the southeastern parts of the country.

/zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed
add Add to watchlist JP:100000018
JP : Nikkei
23,827.18
+31.74 +0.13%
Volume: 0.00
Jan. 24, 2020 3:15p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed
HK : Hong Kong Exchange
27,949.64
+40.52 +0.15%
Volume: 612,128
Jan. 24, 2020 12:08p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/206600939/delayed
CN : China: Shenzhen
¥ 15.54
-0.55 -3.42%
Volume: 0.00
Jan. 23, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
10.56
Dividend Yield
0.93%
Market Cap
¥301.57 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥6.12M
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/zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed
KR : Korea Exchange
2,246.13
-21.12 -0.93%
Volume: 0.00
Jan. 23, 2020 3:32p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed
AU : S&P ASX
7,090.50
+2.50 +0.04%
Volume: 477,556
Jan. 24, 2020 5:39p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled
US : Tullett Prebon
108.8970
-0.3810 -0.3487%
Volume: 0.0000
Jan. 26, 2020 4:19p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204777714/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 951.00
-18.00 -1.86%
Volume: 3.81M
Jan. 24, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
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Dividend Yield
3.68%
Market Cap
¥598.93 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥71.32M
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US : U.S.: OTC
$ 8.75
-0.04 -0.46%
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Jan. 24, 2020 5:20p
P/E Ratio
10.90
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
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Rev. per Employee
$646,191
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JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 616.20
-5.40 -0.87%
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Jan. 24, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
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Dividend Yield
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Market Cap
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US : U.S.: OTC
$ 11.17
-0.18 -1.59%
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Jan. 24, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
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Dividend Yield
4.98%
Market Cap
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Rev. per Employee
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loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202492162/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 2,305.00
+7.00 +0.30%
Volume: 936,100
Jan. 24, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
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Dividend Yield
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Market Cap
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Rev. per Employee
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loading...
/zigman2/quotes/206719136/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 208.51
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Volume: 0.00
Jan. 23, 2020 3:45p
P/E Ratio
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1.74%
Market Cap
$5.13 billion
Rev. per Employee
$222,207
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203224600/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 1,650.00
-25.00 -1.49%
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Jan. 24, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
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Market Cap
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Rev. per Employee
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loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207472799/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 15.59
-0.45 -2.81%
Volume: 91.00
Jan. 24, 2020 5:20p
P/E Ratio
18.17
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$9.17 billion
Rev. per Employee
$454,670
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202607094/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 2,884.00
-6.00 -0.21%
Volume: 298,700
Jan. 24, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
9.62
Dividend Yield
5.41%
Market Cap
¥336.51 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥72.65M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204479122/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 6.54
+0.01 +0.15%
Volume: 900.00
Jan. 24, 2020 3:46p
P/E Ratio
9.60
Dividend Yield
3.70%
Market Cap
$3.07 billion
Rev. per Employee
$657,498
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/209191868/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 48.42
+0.02 +0.04%
Volume: 0.00
Jan. 10, 2020 11:00a
P/E Ratio
8.15
Dividend Yield
3.18%
Market Cap
$31.38 billion
Rev. per Employee
$388,804
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202417326/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 34.20
-0.25 -0.73%
Volume: 8.08M
Jan. 24, 2020 12:08p
P/E Ratio
7.34
Dividend Yield
3.67%
Market Cap
HK$243.88 billion
Rev. per Employee
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loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204964401/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 166.10
-2.13 -1.27%
Volume: 110,305
Jan. 24, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
8.80
Dividend Yield
5.03%
Market Cap
$74.16 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.78M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203421416/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 13.04
+0.04 +0.31%
Volume: 26.57M
Jan. 24, 2020 12:08p
P/E Ratio
8.82
Dividend Yield
5.60%
Market Cap
HK$582.20 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$13.96M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202359856/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 20.60
-0.05 -0.24%
Volume: 15.03M
Jan. 24, 2020 12:08p
P/E Ratio
10.32
Dividend Yield
0.88%
Market Cap
HK$582.25 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$7.60M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/206573290/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 13.00
-0.22 -1.66%
Volume: 552,579
Jan. 24, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
10.21
Dividend Yield
0.65%
Market Cap
$19.35 billion
Rev. per Employee
$970,796
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed
KR : S. Korea: KRX
60,800.00
-1,500 -2.41%
Volume: 0.00
Jan. 23, 2020 3:30p
P/E Ratio
16.78
Dividend Yield
2.33%
Market Cap
₩412994.00 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202367843/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 44.20
0.00 0.00%
Volume: 0.00
Jan. 22, 2020 5:20p
P/E Ratio
14.05
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$300.24 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/208108397/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 54.44
-1.20 -2.16%
Volume: 2.45M
Jan. 24, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
16.03
Dividend Yield
4.89%
Market Cap
$80.15 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201448516/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 40.45
-0.63 -1.53%
Volume: 6.53M
Jan. 24, 2020 4:10p
P/E Ratio
17.03
Dividend Yield
4.74%
Market Cap
$204.55 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202627887/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 57.76
-1.15 -1.95%
Volume: 1.74M
Jan. 24, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
7.34
Dividend Yield
5.73%
Market Cap
$72.76 billion
Rev. per Employee
$852,406
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 103.18
-3.01 -2.83%
Volume: 1.88M
Jan. 24, 2020 4:10p
P/E Ratio
9.40
Dividend Yield
8.70%
Market Cap
$167.54 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.14M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207349564/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 8.84
+0.02 +0.23%
Volume: 2.68M
Jan. 24, 2020 4:10p
P/E Ratio
14.55
Dividend Yield
1.98%
Market Cap
$18.40 billion
Rev. per Employee
$2.29M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207933640/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 6.02
+0.0050 +0.08%
Volume: 2,082
Jan. 24, 2020 3:39p
P/E Ratio
13.83
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$12.53 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.71M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203437212/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 35.39
+0.14 +0.40%
Volume: 1.68M
Jan. 24, 2020 4:10p
P/E Ratio
19.13
Dividend Yield
5.09%
Market Cap
$33.29 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.92M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/206770672/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 24.00
-0.48 -1.96%
Volume: 0.00
Jan. 22, 2020 12:01p
P/E Ratio
18.07
Dividend Yield
5.29%
Market Cap
$22.60 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.43M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201936124/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 3.88
-0.02 -0.51%
Volume: 13.54M
Jan. 24, 2020 4:10p
P/E Ratio
21.44
Dividend Yield
4.12%
Market Cap
$46.11 billion
Rev. per Employee
$774,100
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202275272/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 2.66
+0.01 +0.38%
Volume: 1,000
Jan. 24, 2020 3:15p
P/E Ratio
20.51
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$31.61 billion
Rev. per Employee
$579,274
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207050271/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 13.77
+0.06 +0.44%
Volume: 2.11M
Jan. 24, 2020 4:10p
P/E Ratio
20.90
Dividend Yield
4.84%
Market Cap
$17.98 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.33M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201857553/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 9.29
+0.54 +6.17%
Volume: 0.00
Jan. 16, 2020 9:30a
P/E Ratio
19.85
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$12.32 billion
Rev. per Employee
$990,122
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Varahabhotla Phani Kumar is a reporter in MarketWatch's Hong Kong bureau. Follow him on Twitter @MktwKumar. Sarah Turner is MarketWatch's bureau chief in Sydney. Follow her on Twitter @SarahTurnerMKTW.

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