Japan Leads Asian Equities Lower

Asian stocks fell, as Japanese shares led the regional index to its biggest weekly loss since mid-October with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to dissolve parliament today ahead of elections. Crude oil climbed for a second day as the Korean won rallied with copper futures.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.1 percent by 9:58 a.m. in Tokyo, headed for a 1.8 percent drop this week. Japan’s Topix index (TPX) fell 0.3 percent as the yen pared its fifth weekly decline. The won climbed 0.4 percent from an almost 15-month low and Malaysia’s ringgit strengthened before inflation data. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures lost 0.1 percent after the gauge rose to a record. Oil in New York climbed 1 percent to $76.63 a barrel while copper futures advanced 0.2 percent.

Abe called an early lower-house vote Nov. 18, scuppering plans for a second increase in Japan’s sales tax in a bid to salvage his reform program after data this week showed Asia’s second-largest economy is in recession. In contrast, reports on house prices and manufacturing in the U.S. yesterday underlined continued strength in the economy there. Chinese e-retailer Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. sold $8 billion of debt in the U.S. at yields that were lower than what was originally offered.


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