* Dollar extends modest overnight gains after Bernanke
* Intel cuts 2013 revenue f'cast, capex
* European index futures signal weaker open
* China shares down on financing concerns
By Dominic Lau
TOKYO, July 18 Asian shares fell on Thursday, as
concerns over financing available to property developers hurt
Chinese markets, although overall sentiment was supported by Fed
Chairman Ben Bernanke's pledge to keep monetary policy easy for
the foreseeable future.
Regional tech-related stocks were hit by U.S. Intel Corp's
dismal annual revenue forecast and capital spending
cuts, rooted in softer personal computer sales and weakness in
China, one of its biggest markets.
The dollar extended modest overnight gains after Bernanke
stuck to a timeline that he first outlined in June to wind down
the Federal Reserve's $85 billion a month bond-buying programme,
but he went out of his way to stress that nothing was set in
European stock futures eased 0.4 percent,
indicating a weaker open, while U.S. S&P 500 index futures
slipped 0.2 percent ahead of quarterly results from
Google, Microsoft and Morgan Stanley,
and a weekly jobless claims report.
China's CSI300 share index shed 1.6 percent,
hitting a one-week low and lately forming a "death cross" - a
bearish signal - with the 50-day moving average breaking below
the 200-day moving average. The index has lost nearly 11 percent
Speculation swirled in China's cash market on Thursday of
another credit squeeze after an early spike in the overnight
rate ahead of imminent tax payments by banks. However, rates
quickly fell back amid talk of action by major state-owned
The pace of the monthly rise in China's home prices slowed
slightly in June for a third straight month, though the
year-on-year gains were the strongest this year, underlining
challenges faced by Beijing in its fight to tame housing
"Fears are growing that the liquidity shock a few weeks ago
may be starting to trickle into the sector," said Lee Wee Liat,
BNP Paribas head of Asia property.
China's frothy property market is seen by analysts as one of
the biggest financial risks to the world's second-largest
economy, along with the run-up of debt by local governments and
the explosive growth of the opaque "shadow banking" system.
Chinese money market rates have moderated since the central
bank allowed short-term borrowing costs to spike to record
levels on June 20, bluntly messaging overstretched lenders that
it was determined to get risky credit expansion under control.
Asian shares, as measured by the MSCI Asia-Pacific ex-Japan
index, slipped 0.4 percent, reversing an early
rise that let them hover near a five-week high touched on
Seoul shares fell 0.6 percent, with index
heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co Ltd down 2.1
percent partly due to Intel's grim outlook, while Taipei's share
index dropped 0.8 percent.
Underscoring worries over China's economic slowdown,
Japanese manufacturers' mood worsened in July for the first time
in eight months, a Reuters poll showed.
Tokyo's Nikkei advanced 1.3 percent, however, helped
by the yen weakness and a 4 percent rise for SoftBank Corp
after China's e-commerce Alibaba Group, in which the
Japanese mobile operator owns about 30 percent, nearly tripled
its net income in the first three months of the year.
The dollar gained 0.2 percent against a basket of major
currencies, adding to overnight gains after Bernanke's
The U.S. currency was up 0.5 percent at 100.095 yen,
extending the previous session's 0.5 percent rise versus the
yen, while the euro slipped 0.2 percent to $1.30940.
Bernanke's remarks to a U.S. congressional committee
contained "something for everybody", said Omer Esiner, chief
market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington.
"Bernanke has done a good job of leaving himself plenty of
manoeuvre room in terms of policy."
The Fed chief's comments came as its Beige Book report of
anecdotal information on business activity showed the U.S.
economy continued to grow at a modest to moderate pace in June
and early July, but U.S. housing data was disappointing.
In the commodity markets, gold inched up 0.1 percent
after falling 1.3 percent on Wednesday, while copper prices
dipped 0.1 to remained below $7,000 a tonne after
falling 1.5 percent in the previous session.
Brent crude prices eased 0.1 percent to around
$108.50 a barrel after gaining 0.6 percent on Wednesday after
data from U.S. Energy Information Administration showed a fall
in American crude stocks.