Asian Markets Down on US Federal Reserve QE Taper Jitters

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By m rochan | December 12, 2013 7:29 PM EST

Asian markets trade lower on 12 December (Reuters).

Asian stock markets slid to two-and-a-half month lows on 12 December on fears that the US Federal Reserve could trim its massive monthly bond buying stimulus sooner than expected.

The Japanese Nikkei finished 1.12%, or 173.24 points, lower at 15,341.82.

Australia's S&P/ASX finished 0.82%, or 41.70 points, lower at 5,062.50.

South Korea's Kospi finished 0.51%, or 10.04 points, lower at 1,967.93.

The Shanghai Composite finished 0.06%, or 1.37 points, lower at 2,202.80.

India's BSE Sensex was trading 0.76%, or 160.81 points, lower at 21,014.15.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng was trading 0.48%, or 112.30 points, lower at 23,225.94

The Fed's $85-bn-a-month bond buying programme has supported the US economy and the markets the world over.

Market participants now fear that the provisional two-year deal to prevent another US shutdown could prompt the Fed to trim its bond buys as early as next week. The world's most powerful central bank will announce its monetary policy decision on 18 December.

Societe Generale Cross Asset Research said in a note to clients: "Following [6 December's] employment report, we noted that the odds of tapering at the January FOMC meeting (vs. March) had shifted from less than even to roughly even. In light of the budget deal agreed by Congressional dealers in recent days, the odds have shifted further and we now see the January meeting as the most likely timeframe".

In India, market players await inflation data for the month of November alongside factory output data for the month of October.

In South Korea, the Bank of Korea left its base rate unchanged at 2.5%, as was widely expected.

In New Zealand, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand left its cash rate unchanged at 2.5%. However, the central bank reiterated it expects to raise rates in 2014 to deal with rising inflation pressures from the housing and building sectors.

Wall Street Down

On Wall Street, indices ended lower on 11 December on Fed QE jitters. The provisional US budget deal fuelled speculation that the Fed could trim its asset buys sooner than later.

The Dow finished 129.60 points, or 0.81%, lower at 15,843.53.

The S&P 500 closed 20.40 points, or 1.13%, lower at 1,782.22.

The Nasdaq ended 56.68 points, or 1.40%, lower at 4,003.81.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), broadly regarded as the best gauge of fear in the market, spiked above 15.  

Company Stock Movements

In Tokyo, Apple supplier Nitto Denko dropped about 19% after the firm lowered its operating profit forecast for the year to March.

Camera maker Nikon shed 3.3%. Fast Retailing and telecoms major SoftBank were down 2% each.

In Hong Kong, bad debt manager China Cinda Asset Management soared 31.8% in its trading debut on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Chinese pharmaceutical retailer Jintian Pharmaceutical dropped 13.8% in its trading debut.

Qinhuangdao Port, China's largest coal-port operator by capacity, fell 7.8% in its trading debut.

In Seoul, Ssangyong Motor, owned by India's biggest SUV maker, lost 2% after it revealed plans to invest about a $1bn on its line-up, part of a plan to expand its footprint in the US and across Asia.

In Sydney, QBE Insurance Group fell 5.7%, bringing the stock's total weekly loss to 32.8%.

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