* Asian stocks lower following negative lead from Wall St
* Nikkei further hit by stronger yen
* Dollar reaches six-week lows versus Japanese currency
By Ian Chua
SYDNEY, Aug 7 Asian stocks fell to their lowest
since mid-July early on Wednesday following a second day of
losses on Wall Street as uncertainty about when the Federal
Reserve will start to reduce stimulus kept a leash on market
The dollar ground lower against a basket of major
currencies. It hit a six-week low against the yen, which in turn
weighed on Japanese stocks.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
lost 0.4 percent, extending a 0.5 percent
decline on Tuesday to trade at their lowest since July 19.
Tokyo's Nikkei shed 2.4 percent to trade at one-week
lows, with exporters such as Toyota Corp losing ground
on concerns the stronger yen would erode their dollar earnings
"Because trading volume is likely to be thin, the cash
market will likely be swayed by futures trading. The market is
keeping an eye on the yen's level as that has been the cause of
recent volatility," said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical
analyst at Mizuho Securities.
The weaker start for Asian bourses came after the U.S. S&P
500 index eased 0.6 percent.
Investors keen on clarity on when the Fed might start to
scale back its bond-buying programme were left sorely
disappointed after comments from two top Federal Reserve
officials shed no new light.
"(The Fed officials comments) are inserting uncertainty to
the market where foreign investors are expected to position
themselves as sellers," said Choi Kwang-hyeok, a market analyst
at E-Trade Securities about South Korean stocks.
Indeed, uncertainty about the Fed's tapering plan, thin
trading conditions and a lack of fresh impetus conspired to keep
the greenback pinned down against a basket of major currencies.
The dollar index held near a one-week low as the
greenback slid to 97.09, a level last seen on June 25.
The euro was flat at $1.3299, but not far from a one-week
high around $1.3323 set on Tuesday.
Commodities were mostly subdued, with copper slipping 0.3
percent to $6,987 a tonne, giving back most of the gains
made on Tuesday.
U.S. crude was little changed at $105.43 a barrel,
while gold touched a three-week low around $1,274 an
ounce, extending Tuesday's 1.7 percent slide.
There is little major economic data out of Asia on
Wednesday. The key focus is the Bank of England's inflation
report, in which it is expected to assure markets that it will
keep interest rates at rock-bottom levels for an extended
On Thursday, the Bank of Japan will announce the outcome of
its two-day policy review, and is widely expected to press on
with its massive asset buying program.
Recent data showed the world's third-biggest economy is
starting to stir thanks to the BOJ's unprecedented quantitative
easing push and government fiscal stimulus.