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Nikkei Asia300 Index declines on Wall Street losses

Rising U.S. bond yields also hurt appetite for Asian assets

MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan declined Thursday, tracking overnight losses on Wall Street. Rising U.S. bond yields also damped appetite for Asian assets.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index fell 0.4% to 1,455.57.

The dollar index dropped, U.S. bond yields rose, and the S&P 500 Index ended a six-day winning streak overnight following a Bloomberg report that officials in China reviewing the nation's foreign exchange reserves have recommended slowing purchase of U.S. Treasuries. The report added to the nervousness around U.S. borrowing costs in the wake of Bank of Japan's move to cut back long-dated bond purchases in its daily market operations.

Earlier Thursday, Reuters reported, citing China's foreign exchange regulator, that the news about China considering slowing or halting purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds could be based on erroneous information.

With moves across asset classes centered around the U.S. bond market, the U.S. consumer inflation data due Friday will be closely watched. Low inflation despite growth picking up has allowed the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise rates at a measured pace, supporting equity prices. Any sign of acceleration in consumer prices could spell trouble for bonds and equity markets.

China Overseas Land & Investment rose 0.5% after the developer said late Wednesday that its annual contracted property sales rose 10.2% on year in 2017.

South Korea's Hyundai Motor dropped 0.3%. The carmaker said Thursday it had invested in Singapore-based ride-hailing firm Grab, without disclosing the value of the investment.

Maruti Suzuki India declined 0.4% after rising earlier in the day. India's largest carmaker said late Wednesday that it had raised prices by up to 17,000 rupees ($267) across models amid increase in commodity prices.

Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry added 0.7% after the iPhone assembler said late Wednesday that consolidated revenues in December were up 50%. China Steel ended unchanged after sales rose 9.4% last month. Index heavyweight Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. dropped 0.6% despite reporting a 15% increase in December sales.

In country indexes compiled by Nikkei, South Korea declined 0.9%, China fell 0.7%, Taiwan lost 0.6%, and Hong Kong shed 0.2%. India added 0.4%.

The Nikkei Asia300 ASEAN Index of Southeast Asian companies ended little changed.

--Nimesh Vora

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