Asian stocks fell, led by Japanese shares, after the yen and gold climbed as the Swiss central bank’s unexpected scrapping of its currency cap spurred a flight to haven assets.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) declined 0.1 percent to 138.59 as of 9:00 a.m. in Tokyo, before markets opened in Hong Kong and China. Japan’s Topix index tumbled 1.6 percent as the yen traded near a one-month high at 116.22 per dollar, after gaining 1 percent yesterday. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 0.5 percent.
The Swiss National Bank abolished a minimum exchange rate against the euro designed to shield the economy from the region’s sovereign-debt crisis. The franc was at 99.345 centimes per euro, after soaring as much as 41 percent yesterday in one of the biggest moves among major currencies since the collapse of the Bretton Woods system in 1971.