Asian Equities Ease as U.S. Data Signals September Hike

Asian shares were mostly down while the dollar held firm on Thursday after strong U.S. service-sector data and comments from a Fed governor boosted confidence in the economy and fanned expectations of a interest rate hike in September.  Japan’s Nikkei .N225 share average rose 0.7 percent at 0227 GMT while South Korea’s Kospi reversed earlier gains to drop 0.7 percent.

Dollar-denominated MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS slid 0.6 percent.  “Overseas money that would have been allocated to Asia is on the sidelines at the moment,” said Khiem Do, head of multi-asset strategy at Barings Asset Management in Hong Kong. “In the short term, waiting to hear the timing and magnitude of that move has definitely put a little bit of dampener on U.S. stocks and some of the North Asian stock markets.”

The Taiwan SE Weighted Index .TWII was down 0.8 percent, dragged lower by Largan Precision (3008.TW). Local media reported the key supplier for Apple Inc. (AAPL.O) released weaker-than-expected July sales numbers and cut its outlook for August.  Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index lost 0.7 percent, after the unemployment rate climbed to 6.3 percent in July, even employment jumped by 38,500 since June.