Asian Equities Have Shaky Start to the Week

Asian shares got off to a shaky start on Monday as recent rallies offered traders a profit-taking opportunity, while the dollar edged away from recent peaks in early trading.  MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was down about 0.1 percent after touching its highest levels since September in the previous week.

Japan’s Nikkei stock average .N225 was nearly flat in early trade, after rising above the 20,000 on Friday for the first time in 15 years.  Wall Street marked solid gains for both the day and the week on Friday, while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 share index .FTEU3 reached a 15-year high and Germany’s DAX .GDAXI rose to a record.

A renewed drop in the euro powered the European gains, with the single currency slumping to a 3-1/2 week low on Friday. On Monday, it edged up slightly on the day to $1.0609 EUR=.  Against its Japanese counterpart, the dollar lost 0.2 percent to 120.11 yen JPY=, though divergent monetary policy expectations were expected to bolster the greenback in the long term.