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April 27, 2016, 5:42 a.m. EDT

Japan shares fall on earnings; Asia cautious ahead of central banks

Australian dollar dragged lower

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By Chao Deng


Bloomberg News
BOJ up soon

Most stock markets in Asia Pacific fell Wednesday as investors braced for an update on monetary policy from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -1.63%  was off 0.6% while both the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +0.22%  and Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.18% fell by 0.4%. The Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -0.74%  finished down 0.2% and South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.05%  lost 0.2%.

The Aussie dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561961/realtime/sampled USDAUD -0.3902%  slid on expectations that the country’s central bank will cut interest rates at its meeting on May 3. The local currency was last off 1.7% against the U.S. dollar compared with earlier in the Asian trading day.

For most of the region however, investors awaited a monetary-policy update from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee, due later Wednesday. The central bank isn’t expected to raise interest rates but may hint about whether it will act in June.

The Fed’s announcement will be followed around midday Thursday by the Bank of Japan’s policy decision, though views are split on whether the BOJ will bolster its easing program.

“I suspect the Fed will not want to rock the apple cart,” and will keep a cap on upward momentum on the U.S. dollar, said Chris Weston, chief market strategist at brokerage IG.

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In Australia, shares were off for the third straight session amid heightened uncertainty over interest rates. The market opened modestly higher in the wake of an overnight recovery in oil prices, then built on gains to peak about midday following the release of data showing the first quarter of domestic deflation since the 2008.

That turned to selling as analysts reflected on the increased likelihood the Reserve Bank of Australia will cut interest rates next week, as it faces the risk that inflation will undershoot its 2%-3% target for a sustained period.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia /zigman2/quotes/200638713/delayed AU:CBA -3.01%   led the big banks lower, falling 2.5%, while the National Australia Bank /zigman2/quotes/210431826/delayed AU:NAB -5.22%   lost 2.2%. Among other banks, Westpac Banking /zigman2/quotes/203084975/delayed AU:WBC -6.36%  shed 2% and the Australia & New Zealand Banking Group /zigman2/quotes/205482049/delayed AU:ANZ -4.54%  fell 1.5%.

Meanwhile, stocks in Tokyo were dragged lower by disappointing earnings results.

Bicycle parts maker Shimano   dropped 5.1% after the company cut its net-profit projection for 2016, citing a weaker U.S. dollar against the yen.

Electronics maker Canon Inc. /zigman2/quotes/207639533/delayed JP:7751 -3.90%   lost 5.3% after the firm lowered its sales and profit projections for 2016. Canon cited pressures from slower economic growth in China and other emerging markets, as well as a higher yen.

—Robb M. Stewart and Kosaku Narioka contributed to this article.

/zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed
AU : S&P ASX
5,755.70
-95.40 -1.63%
Volume: 2.45M
May 29, 2020 5:16p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
2,852.35
+6.13 +0.22%
Volume: 20.68B
May 29, 2020 3:01p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed
JP : Nikkei
21,877.89
-38.42 -0.18%
Volume: 0.00
May 29, 2020 3:00p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed
HK : Hong Kong Exchange
22,961.47
-171.29 -0.74%
Volume: 3.62M
May 29, 2020 4:08p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed
KR : Korea Exchange
2,029.60
+1.06 +0.05%
Volume: 1.09M
May 29, 2020 3:33p
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/zigman2/quotes/210561961/realtime/sampled
US : Tullett Prebon
1.5008
-0.0059 -0.3902%
Volume: 0.0000
May 29, 2020 4:59p
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/zigman2/quotes/200638713/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 63.75
-1.98 -3.01%
Volume: 8.07M
May 29, 2020 4:10p
P/E Ratio
11.74
Dividend Yield
6.76%
Market Cap
$116.30 billion
Rev. per Employee
$919,022
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/zigman2/quotes/210431826/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 17.81
-0.98 -5.22%
Volume: 20.24M
May 29, 2020 4:10p
P/E Ratio
15.56
Dividend Yield
6.34%
Market Cap
$59.95 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.00M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203084975/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 17.22
-1.17 -6.36%
Volume: 31.57M
May 29, 2020 4:10p
P/E Ratio
12.94
Dividend Yield
10.10%
Market Cap
$66.31 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.09M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205482049/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 17.89
-0.85 -4.54%
Volume: 19.48M
May 29, 2020 4:10p
P/E Ratio
12.24
Dividend Yield
12.20%
Market Cap
$53.06 billion
Rev. per Employee
$908,476
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207639533/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 2,219.00
-90.00 -3.90%
Volume: 11.47M
May 29, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
20.44
Dividend Yield
7.21%
Market Cap
¥2414.62 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥19.98M
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