Moneycontrol
Jan 12, 2017 10:06 AM IST IST | Source: CNBC

Japanese shares in red as yen strengthens

Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 dropped 0.91 percent, as the yen strengthened against the dollar. A stronger yen is generally bad news for Japanese companies as it makes exports more expensive and lowers repatriated profits earned overseas.

Asian shares traded mixed following a choppy session in the US with stocks ending higher after President-elect Donald Trump held a raucous and freewheeling press conference that analysts said was sparse on economic policy details.

The news conference concluded with Donald Trump, who will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States on January 20, not providing further clarity on his proposed policies.

"President elect Trump's first news conference since late July 2016 has left a veritable laundry list of questions unanswered for markets," said Westpac Global Strategy Group in a note released on Thursday.

"Trump made a couple references to "making American great again" but there was no detail on infrastructure spending, corporate tax reform, personal income tax cuts, the prospects for deregulation or the possibility of another tax repatriation holiday," Westpac added.

Australia's ASX 200 gained 0.29 percent, supported by its energy sub-index, which was up 0.61 percent, and its materials sub-index, which gained 0.65 percent.

Australian heatlhcare sub-index was down 0.62 percent, tracking the fall in healthcare stocks in the US overnight. Biotech firm CSL fell 1.45 percent, while Mayne Pharma Group dropped 2.63 percent.

Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 dropped 0.91 percent, as the yen strengthened against the dollar. A stronger yen is generally bad news for Japanese companies as it makes exports more expensive and lowers repatriated profits earned overseas.

Japanese condiments manufacturer Kewpie added 6.08 percent during early trading, after the company said it expects operating profit to rise 10.7 percent to 33 billion yen (USD 287 million) for the full year ending November and that it will increase the dividends by 1.5 yen per share compared to the previous year to 36 yen each.

In South Korea, the Kospi was up 0.24 percent.

Samsung Electronics was down 0.05 percent while Samsung C&T added 1.19 percent as investors shrugged off news that Samsung Group chief Jay Lee arrived at the South Korean special prosecutor's office for questioning over a corruption scandal which has engulfed South Korea, and resulted in the impeachment by parliament of President Park Geun-hye.

Over in mainland China, the Shanghai composite was nearly flat, down 0.06 percent, while the Shenzhen composite was unchanged.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.09 percent.

Over at Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average finished up 0.5 percent to 19,954.28, while the S&P 500 closed 0.28 percent higher at 2,275.32. The Nasdaq composite added 0.21 percent to close at 5,563.65.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, last traded at 101.66, falling as low as 101.28 overnight in reaction to Trump's news conference.

The yen rose against the dollar, fetching 115.03, compared with levels as high as 116 in yesterday's session. The Australian dollar was stronger against the greenback, at USD 0.7446.

Brent futures inched down 0.09 percent to USD 55.05 a barrel during Asian hours, while US crude dipped 0.15 percent to USD 52.17.

Oil prices had jumped more than 2.5 percent on Wednesday during US house, as the dollar weakened after Trump's news conference and on news that Saudi Arabia cut exports to Asia.
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