Tokyo stocks touch 18-month low in mixed Asia markets

Tuesday 02.00 GMT

What you need to know

  • Tokyo stocks touch 18-month low in broadly mixed Asia markets
  • Pound remains lower while yen gains on dollar
  • Japanese government bond yields hover near one-year low

Leading quote

Stocks in Tokyo fell to their lowest level in a year and a half and Japanese government bond yields remained near their lowest in a year as Asia-Pacific equities put in a mixed performance in the absence of a firmer lead from Wall Street. The dollar held on to gains made against the UK pound overnight amid fresh Brexit uncertainty while oil prices bounced after falling on Monday.

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Tokyo-listed equities took an early tumble in spite of a mildly positive session for Wall Street, with the Topix index dipping to its lowest level in 18 months before recovering some ground to be down 0.4 per cent. Financials were off 1.2 per cent while telecoms stocks gained 1.7 per cent.

In Seoul the Kospi rose 0.2 per cent, with Samsung Biologics surging as much as 25.6 per cent after the biopharmaceutical unit of Samsung Group managed to avoid delisting in the wake of an accounting scandal.

Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3 per cent as tech stocks climbed 1.8 per cent and the mining segment gained 0.5 per cent.

In Hong Kong the Hang Seng was off 0.3 per cent as gains by industrials and tech stocks were offset by losses across all other segments.

In the US, the S&P 500 dropped to an eight-month low before rallying to finish a choppy trading day with a gain of 0.2 per cent. The Nasdaq rose 0.7 per cent as Apple managed to recover from an initial 3 per cent loss made on news that a Chinese court had banned the sale of certain iPhone models in the world’s largest mobile market.

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Forex and fixed income

Foreign exchange movements were limited after a Monday’s session in which the UK pound dropped as much as 1.7 per cent, after Prime Minister Theresa May was forced to abort a parliamentary vote on her Brexit plan at the eleventh hour.

Sterling was up 0.1 per cent in Asia at $1.2574, while the dollar largely held on to the previous day’s gains with the dollar index off 0.1 per cent at 97.127. The Japanese yen was 0.2 per cent stronger on the day at ¥113.17, after flirting briefly with the ¥113 per dollar mark.

Sovereign bond markets were steady with the yield, which moves opposite to prices, on 10-year Japanese government bonds up 1 basis point to 0.032 per cent but still near its lowest level in a year as the country’s stock benchmarks remained under pressure. The 10-year US Treasury yield fell 1bp to 2.849 per cent.


Oil price were edging up again after both benchmarks dipped by around 3 per cent on Monday. Brent crude, the international benchmark, rose 0.6 per cent to $60.30 a barrel while US marker West Texas Intermediate climbed 0.4 per cent to $51.19.

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