Asian stock markets lower after string of gains

Asian stock markets lower after string of gains

Tokyo: Asian stocks dropped on Tuesday as markets pulled back from a rally that has driven some of the region’s benchmarks to record highs.

Oil prices also fell following a string of gains but gold reached a new high above $1,400 an ounce as some investors sought a safe haven.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average fell 40.33 points, or 0.4%, to 9,692.59 with exporters pressured by the dollar resuming its fall against the yen.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.8% to 24,774.05 and South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.1% to 1,940.49. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.5% to 4,755.00.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.4% to 3,146.91. Markets in Singapore and Taiwan were also lower.

Gains in global stocks and commodities were extended last week after the U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced it would sink $600 billion into buying Treasurys over the next eight months to stimulate the sluggish economy by lowering long-term interest rates.

Indexes in India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia have recently hit new highs while others have touched multiyear peaks.

But the rally began to run out of steam by Friday in the US despite the Labor Department reported a better-than-expected increase in the number of new jobs.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 37.24, or 0.3%, to close at 11,406.84 on Monday. It surged 2.9% last week after the Fed announced its stimulus plan.

The Standard and Poor’s 500 index fell 2.60, or 0.2%, to 1,223.25. The Nasdaq composite index continued to outperform other market measures, as it has done all year, edging up 1.07, or 0.04%, to 2,580.05.

In currencies, the dollar fell to 81.03 yen, from ¥81.20 in New York late Monday. The euro rose to $1.3876 from $1.3849.

Benchmark crude for December delivery was down 37 cents at $86.69 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract settled up 21 cents at $87.06 on Monday.