Asia slips as Wall Street cheer fizzles out, kiwi slides

September 25
1:16 AM 2014

Asian stocks slipped on Thursday, giving back earlier gains as initial cheer from a rebound on Wall Street fizzled out, while the New Zealand dollar hit a one-year low when the central bank governor decried the currency's recent strength.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell 0.3 percent, edging towards a four-month low hit the previous day on geopolitical jitters.

Tokyo's Nikkei .N225 retained earlier momentum and rose 1.1 percent, heartened as the yen resumed its weakening against the dollar.

Wall Street rebounded broadly overnight, buoyed by strong U.S. housing data and dovish statements from a top Federal Reserve official.

The New Zealand dollar hit a one-year low of $0.7995 NZD=D4 after Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Graeme Wheeler repeated his warning that the exchange rate is unsustainable and at unjustified levels.

"The statement itself was another intervention threat. The Reserve Bank is saying that even down at these levels the kiwi is too high," said Imre Speizer, currency strategist at Westpac.

The kiwi had climbed to a three-year peak of $0.8839 in July, boosted by prospects of further rate hikes by the RBNZ.

The U.S. dollar, rejuvenated after benchmark U.S. Treasury yields rose for the first time in four days and as the euro slumped to fresh lows, edged closer to a six-year high versus the yen.

The dollar traded as high as 109.34 yen JPY=, and a break above 109.46 would take the greenback to a high not seen since 2008.

The dollar index, a gauge of the greenback's strength against a basket of major currencies, hit a four-year high of 85.163 .DXY.

The euro slumped to a fresh 14-month trough of 1.2764 EUR=, retaining downward momentum after dropping overnight on poor German data and statements by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi indicating monetary policy would be kept loose for an extended period.

The Australian dollar fell to $0.8818 AUD=D4, its lowest since early February, suffering collateral damage from the kiwi's sharp fall.

Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens is due to give a brief speech that could potentially offer trading insights, but he is not scheduled to take questions.

For broader cues the financial markets are eyeing U.S. jobless claims and durable goods numbers due later in the day for potential impact on yields and currencies.

In a week filled with appearances by U.S. central bank officials, investors await Atlanta Fed president Dennis Lochart's speech due at 1730 GMT.

In commoditiesBrent crude steadied near $97 a barrel after bouncing from its lowest in 26 months, but abundant supply continued to drag on prices.

Brent LCOc1 was down 17 cents at 96.78 a barrel.

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