Asian shares slip after soft US economic, corporate data

Saturday, 18 January 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

HONG KONG (AFP): Asian markets slipped Friday, following a negative lead from Wall Street after a disappointing set of corporate results and soft economic data. The dollar was subdued against the yen after seeing a sell-off in New York in response to the latest US figures, while its Australian counterpart also continued to struggle. Tokyo slipped 0.46%, Hong Kong eased 0.13%, Sydney lost 0.28%, Shanghai gave up 0.37% and Seoul was flat. In the United States the Labor department said new claims for unemployment insurance fell 2,000 last week to 326,000, indicating the jobs market is recovering slowly. Last week it released data showing the economy added less the half the number of jobs expected in December, raising fears about the US recovery. Also Thursday the Labor department said US consumer prices rose 0.3% in December from November, and core prices – stripping out volatile energy and food prices -- were up just 0.1%, the Labour Department reported Thursday, The yearly rate was 1.5%, and the core rate was up 1.7%, below the Federal Reserve’s 2.0% target. Adding to the downbeat sentiment were a string of weak US earnings releases. US electronics retailer Best Buy plunged 28.6% after saying November-December same-store sales were 0.8% lower than the previous year’s holiday shopping season. Citigroup took a hit after earnings came in well below forecast, while chip giant Intel also sank in after-market trade as it said net profit last year fell 13%. On Wall Street the Dow fell 0.39% and the S&P 500 slipped 0.13% a day after hitting a record high but the Nasdaq edged up 0.09%. The dollar was unable to rebound against the yen in Tokyo from its losses in New York on Thursday caused by the downbeat US results. In early trade the greenback bought 104.31 yen, compared with 104.37 yen late in New York and well down from the 104.60 yen level touched earlier Thursday in Asia. The euro was at 142.07 yen against 142.11 yen while it also fetched $1.3617, compared with $1.3615 The Australian dollar fetched 88.05 US cents, stuck at three-year lows after seeing a sell-off on Thursday following another set of disappointing jobs figures out of Canberra. Oil prices were mixed. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in February was up 10 cents at $94.06 in morning trade. European benchmark Brent crude for March was down 19 cents at $105.56. Gold fetched $1,243.21 at 0220 GMT compared with $1,236.55 late Thursday.