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Markets

Asian stocks lower on profit-taking; Nikkei down 0.51%

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Investing.com - Asian stocks are trading to the downside Wednesday as it appears trading are merely taking some profits following an impressive three-week rally.

In Asian trading Wednesday, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.51% after USD/JPY traded modestly lower. The slightly stronger yen hampered Japanese exporters, though it is worth noting USD/JPY is not alarmingly lower and the pair is still hovering near its highest levels in nearly four years.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.68% while the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.73%.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 0.50% after the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that Australian home loans checked in with a seasonally adjusted reading of -1.5% in February. The January reading was revised to -1.5% from -2.1%. Analysts expected a February reading of 0.6%.

The home loans report followed another lackluster Aussie data point released Tuesday. That is when the National Bank of Australia said its index of business confidence fell to 1 in February from a reading of 3 the previous month.

New Zealand's NZSE 50 slid 0.70% on fears a worsening drought there will hamper the economy. News of the drought, which some market participants say is worsening by the day, coincides with a Reserve Bank of New Zealand meeting later today. Traders widely expect the central bank to keep interest rates unchanged at 2.5%.

On speculation that RBNZ Governor Graeme Wheeler favors higher interest rates, Citigroup and UBS forecast a stronger kiwi against its Australian rival. At this writing, AUD/NZD is higher by 0.22% at 1.2514. The Aussie has gained nearly 2% against the kiwi year-to-date.

South Korea's Kospi fell 0.02% after Statistics Korea said the country's unemployment rate rose to 4% last month from 3.4% in January. The February reading is the worst since the 4.2% posted in February 2012.

Singapore's Straits Times Index is off 0.40% while S&P 500 futures are lower by 0.01%.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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