* Spreadbetters see a softer open for European shares
* BOJ holds steady as expected, hikes view of capital
* Recent downtrend in U.S. Treasury yields keep pressure on
By Lisa Twaronite
TOKYO, May 21 Asian shares caught Wall Street's
gloom on Wednesday, while the dollar was on track for a sixth
losing session against the yen after the Bank of Japan upgraded
its view on capital expenditure.
The shadow was likely to fall over the European open, with
financial spreadbetters expecting Britain's FTSE 100 to
open down 0.2 percent, Germany's DAX off 0.3 percent,
and France's CAC 40 down as much as 0.4 percent.
"Following a session of minimal economic data and dismal
retail earnings from both sides of the pond, European markets
look set to open lower," Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC
Markets, wrote in a note to clients.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
slipped 0.1 percent, after U.S. stocks fell in a
Asian investors continued to keep a wary eye on the
situation in Thailand, where the army declared martial law on
Tuesday after months of civil and political unrest.
Japan's Nikkei stock average ended down 0.2 percent,
as investors awaited post-meeting comments by Bank of Japan
Governor Haruhiko Kuroda from 3:30 p.m. (0630 GMT), after the
Tokyo market close.
The BOJ held policy steady as expected at the conclusion of
a two-day meeting and maintained its overall upbeat economic
assessment while raising its capex view. [ID: nT9N0NT002]
"The market is already jittery about falling U.S. bond
yields leading to a weak dollar-yen. Kuroda's comment dismissing
the possibility of further easing again won't do any good to the
mood," said Hiromichi Tamura, chief strategist at Nomura
Japanese trade data for April released shortly before the
market opened showed that the country posted a record 22nd month
of trade deficits. While last month's rise in exports beat
forecasts, shipments to the major U.S. market slowed.
The dollar lost about 0.1 percent against the yen to 101.22
yen, not far from Monday's low of 101.10 yen, which was
its weakest level since early February.
The recent downtrend in U.S. Treasury yields continued to
undermine the dollar's appeal.
The yield on benchmark U.S. 10-year notes inched
up to 2.51 percent in Asia from its U.S. close of 2.50 percent
on Tuesday, but remained close to half-year lows.
Later on Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve will release
the minutes of its latest policy meeting, though most market
participants did not expect any substantial clues to emerge on
the timing of a future hike to interest rates.
New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley said at an
event on Tuesday that the U.S. central bank will likely be
"relatively slow" in hiking interest rates.
The euro was steady on the day at $1.3706, but
remained not far from a nadir of $1.3648 touched on Thursday,
which was its lowest since late February.
In commodities trading, U.S. crude rose 0.5 percent
to $102.85 per barrel, supported by a disruption in Libya's oil
output and an unexpected draw in U.S. crude oil inventory,
according to industry data.
Spot gold was steady on the day at $1,293.80 an
(Additional reporting by Ayai Tomisawa in Tokyo; Editing by
Shri Navaratnam & Kim Coghill)