ASIA MARKETS: Asian Markets Cool Off Following Recent Hot Streak

By FeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Nikkei slips after 26-year high; Taiex snaps 8-session winning streak

Asian stocks mostly pulled back Wednesday, pausing from a rally in equities this month.

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Taiwan's Taiex led the declines in the region, falling 1%, after recording its second eight-session winning streak in the past month on Tuesday. Taiwan Semiconductor (2330.TW) -- which had risen 13% over the past eight days, helped by upbeat fourth-quarter results -- was down 3.3%, as was smartphone-lens maker Largan Precision (3008.TW) .

Hong Kong peer Sunny Optical (2382.HK) , though, continued to outperform Largan and was recently up 2.5%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index declined 0.4%, after rising 5.1% over six days and hitting several record highs.

"Markets have been simply too good with investors pouring into tech names," said Dickie Wong, head of research at Hong Kong-based Kingston Securities.

Japan's Nikkei was recently down 0.8% after its latest 26-year high Tuesday, held back by the dollar's declines.

The Wall Street Journal Dollar Index hit a fresh three-year low on Wednesday, and was recently down 0.3%.

The dollar fell to Yen109.80, hitting a four-month low, versus Yen110.84 when Japan stock trading ended Tuesday. Export stocks were weak, as is often the case when the yen strengthens.

Japanese banks also fell as U.S. Treasury prices rebounded after weeks of steady declines. When bond prices rise, their yields fall, and that tends to hurt banks' earnings.

A weaker dollar can make U.S. products more attractive to overseas customers and international ones less so to U.S. buyers as their price goes up. That development comes amid broader trade efforts by the Trump administration, highlighted by Monday's move on largely Asian solar panels and washing machines.

"The latest measures are small in the broad context of U.S. trade and we do not anticipate a serious escalation," said Daniel Morris, a senior investment strategist at BNP Paribas Asset Management.

New Zealand and Australian equities were the rare bright spot Wednesday in the Asia-Pacific region, with the NZX-50 closing 0.2% higher and Australia's benchmark ecently up 0.4%.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 23, 2018 23:44 ET (04:44 GMT)

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