Asian stocks swung between gains and losses, with the regional benchmark heading for its biggest weekly increase since September. Telecommunication shares led declines while banks and brokerages led gains.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.1 percent to 135.93 as of 9:32 a.m. in Tokyo after rising less than 0.1 percent. The measure has gained 2.4 percent this week. Japan’s Topix (TPX) index dropped 0.5 percent as data showed consumer prices excluding fresh food climbed 1.3 percent in February from a year earlier before a sales-tax increase takes effect next month.
The MSCI gauge fell 3.7 percent this year through yesterday as investors weighed the development of the Ukraine crisis, the health of the U.S. economy with the Federal Reserve paring stimulus and a growth slowdown in China.
“Investors are a bit unsure given these issues regarding Ukraine, China, how strong the U.S. economy is when the Fed is tightening and what will happen in Japan after the sale-tax increase,” said Shane Oliver, Sydney-based head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., which has $140 billion under management. “All of them are causing investors to hold back a little bit and we are seeing messy action in share markets.”
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