* Nikkei futures, Australian stock futures down after Wall
* Bernanke confirms market fears of a stimulus withdrawal
* Dollar higher as U.S. Treasury yields jump
By Ian Chua
SYDNEY, June 20 Asian stock markets were braced
for a fall on Thursday in line with Wall Street after the U.S.
central bank confirmed that it would begin to withdraw stimulus
this year if the economy continued to recover as it expected.
Tokyo's Nikkei futures in Chicago and Australia's
share price index futures fell, pointing to weaker
openings for two of Asia-Pacific's main markets, following a 1.4
percent slide in the U.S. S&P 500 index.
Traders said markets could come under even more pressure if
a report on China's factory activity, due at 0145 GMT, provided
fresh evidence of weakness in Asia's economic powerhouse.
"Given the market's growing fears over a hard landing for
the Chinese economy, a particularly weak number could add to the
post-FOMC selling pressure on the emerging currencies as well as
the commodity bloc currencies," analysts at BNP Paribas wrote in
On Wednesday, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares
outside Japan had ended flat with investors
unsure of what Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke would say and
how markets would react.
Dashing hopes for a more dovish stance, Bernanke said the
U.S. economy was expanding strongly enough for the central bank
to begin slowing the pace of its bond-buying stimulus later this
That sent U.S. stocks and bonds sharply lower, pushing
benchmark Treasury yields to a 15-month high. In turn, the U.S.
dollar rallied 0.9 percent against a basket of major currencies
, posting its best one-day gain in over a month.
The euro slid around 0.8 percent to $1.3262, swiftly
retreating from a four-month high around $1.3418.
Among the hardest hit were the Australian dollar, which has
been sold not only as a commodity currency but also as a proxy
for emerging markets. Emerging market currencies, from Indonesia
to Thailand, are also expected to come under heavy pressure
The Australian dollar slumped more than 2 percent, breaking
below $0.9300 for the first time since September 2010.