Simon Quinn



Tokyo shares lost 0.33% today morning following the lead of US markets after minutes from the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting sent jitters through traders.

The Nikkei index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 44.05 points to 13,380.28 by the break, but the Topix index of all first-section shares rose 0.04%, or 0.50 points, to 1,122.24.

The fall came after the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.70% to 14,897.55 points yesterday, while the broad-based S&P 500 dropped 0.58% to 1,642.80.

Minutes of the July 30-31 meeting of the US Federal Open Market Committee showed the Fed continued to debate the timing of pulling back its US$85 billion (RM282.2 billion) per month in bond-buying purchases.

"The market is taking the news of tapering easing negatively and overreacting," Seiichi Suzuki, market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Securities.

He added that Tokyo and other developed economy markets were gaining support from outflow of money from emerging markets such as India, Indonesia and Thailand, where their currencies and stock prices have dropped in the past several trading days.

"We heard a lot of words, but learned nothing from The FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee)," said CLSA equity strategist Nicholas Smith.

"Those that believe that bond buying tapering will begin in September still believe that, while those who imagine a later start date remain resolute," Smith added.

In the forex market, the dollar was firmer at 97.87 yen (RM3.3096) in early Asian trade, up from 97.67 yen in New York yesterday.

The euro bought US$1.3340 and 130.55 yen, compared with US$1.3358 and 130.46 yen.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) was down 4.48% at 532 yen, after news that some 300 tonnes of radioactive water was believed to have seeped from one of the tanks that hold water used to cool the broken reactors.

Tepco warned some of the water might have flowed into the ocean.
Canon was down 1.25% at 2,987 yen and Sony was down 1.60% at 1,906 yen, while Honda and Toyota both rose. - AFP, August 22, 2013.