Yen Climbs; Asia Stocks Drop

Japan’s yen rose for the first time in seven days as Finance Minister Taro Aso said its decline has been too fast. Most Asian stocks fell, with the regional index headed to its biggest weekly retreat since mid-October, while crude oil climbed for a second day.

The yen added 0.4 percent to 117.77 per dollar by 12:16 p.m. in Tokyo, paring its biggest five-week loss since 1995. About five stocks fell for every three that rose on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) as it headed for a 1.8 percent drop this week. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures were little changed after the gauge rose to a record. The won climbed 0.3 percent from an almost 15-month low. Oil in New York added 0.6 percent and is heading for its first weekly gain since September.

Yen vs $

Asian equities retreated this week as data showed the region’s two largest economies struggling, with Japan falling back into recession and Chinese factory activity at a six-month low. The yen is the worst-performing major currency versus the dollar this month after Japan’s central bank boosted record stimulus and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shelved plans for a sales-tax increase.

“The dollar has gone up so quickly, close enough to the next big round number to encourage profit taking, but it still feels like it’s in a rising trend since Oct. 31,” Greg Gibbs, the head of Asia-Pacific markets strategy at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in Singapore. “The market will search for the right levels to buy again. It’s purely technical, unrelated to any economic news.”

The Topix index retreated 0.8 percent and is heading for its first weekly decline since Oct. 24. Just five of the 33 industry groups on the gauge advanced today. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average, the best-performing major index this quarter among 24 developed nations monitored by Bloomberg, is down 2 percent this week.

The Hang Seng Index added 0.2 percent, paring its drop since Nov. 14 to 2.9 percent, with a gauge of Chinese shares listed in Hong Kong little changed. The benchmark index’s biggest weekly loss since March coincided with the launch of a trading link between the southern city’s bourse and its counterpart in Shanghai.

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