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Asian stocks, dollar subdued after Wall Street losses

TOKYO: The dollar struggled to rise as Asian stocks creaked lower in early trading on Friday, unable to shrug off the impact of downbeat results on Wall Street.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, held its ground on the day at 80.943 .DXY.

But the dollar slipped 0.1 percent against the yen at 104.34 yen, though it held well off a four-week low of 102.85 set on Monday. Against the euro, the dollar edged down to $1.3612.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS slumped 0.2 percent, while Australian shares .AXJO skidded 0.4 percent and Japan's Nikkei index .N225dropped 0.8 percent.

"U.S. companies whose earnings have a big impact on the global economy disappointed the market, so it is triggering selling," said Norihiro Fujito, a senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

He added that investors were reducing their positions before a three-day weekend in the United States, where markets are closed on Monday for a public holiday.

On Thursday, the Standard & Poor's 500 .SPX backed away from a record high struck in the previous session, after disappointing earnings from banks including Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and Citigroup Inc (C.N), though some noted that the broader impact was limited.

"The market has not made much of the news with regard to global growth, though, as oil prices remained broadly unchanged and non-financial stocks broadly outperformed," strategists at Barclays said in a note to clients.

U.S. crude futures rose about 0.1 percent to $94.07 a barrel, not far from a two-week peak of $94.64 reached earlier this week after U.S. government data showed a larger-than-expected drop in inventories.

Gold was steady in early trade on Friday, slightly higher at $1,243.60 an ounce, after U.S. data showed more strength.

Markets were caught off-guard a week ago when payroll numbers showed U.S. jobs growth unexpectedly weakened. But subsequent upbeat data, including robust consumer spending, dispelled some of concerns.

Thursday's U.S. data showed consumer prices rose the most in six months in December, in line with expectations, and the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell for a second week last week. But the Philadelphia Fed's index of business conditions in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region fell to its lowest level since April.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar slumped 0.2 percent to $0.8806, after it shed more than 1 percent on Thursday to $0.8777 — a low not seen since August 2010. Traders said good buying interest below 88 U.S. cents should provide some support for now.

The Aussie plunged after news Australia's economy shed 22,600 jobs in December, when economists had expected a small increase.

Source: Reuters



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