January 13, 2014 / 2:14 AM / 4 years ago

Asia shares wobbly, Nikkei set to tumble as yen near four-week high

TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian shares dipped on Tuesday, hurt by a tumble on Wall Street, while the dollar hovered near a four-week low against the yen as last week’s surprisingly weak jobs report raised concerns about the U.S. growth outlook.

Tokyo's Nikkei benchmark .N225 was set to fall sharply, with futures down 2.7 percent, as the yen strengthened on the back of the nonfarm payroll report. Monday was a public holiday in Japan.

The Nikkei, like Wall Street, has got off to a slow start to the year after a stellar 2013, with a 57 percent jump.

“Given the extent of positions in the market and continued softness in U.S. yields this week, USD/JPY could continue to test lower near-term,” analysts at BNP Paribas wrote in a note.

“However, bearish JPY remains a high conviction view for many market participants and we expect the pair to find buying interest ahead of 101.50,” they added.

The announcement of a $13.6 billion deal by Japan’s Suntary Holdings Ltd SUNTH.UL to buy U.S. spirits company Beam Inc BEAM.N may offer some support to the dollar versus the yen.

Dollar/yen was one of the strongest-performing major currency pairs last year, and many hedge funds have been betting the trend will continue as the Federal Reserve cuts back its huge bond-buying programme while the Bank of Japan remains committed to providing stimulus.

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The dollar was steady at 103.05 yen, having fallen 1.1 percent overnight, its biggest one-day slide since September 18.

Against the Australian dollar, the greenback languished near a four-week low of $0.9055. The euro was little changed at $1.3668, however.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was off 0.1 percent after gaining 0.8 percent in the previous session as the disappointing U.S. jobs report added to the case for the Fed to keep rates low for longer.

    Overnight, U.S. stocks tumbled on caution ahead of corporate results, as mounting negative pre-announcements left a lackluster profit growth outlook, with the Standard & Poor's 500 .SPX off 1.3 percent.

    According to Thomson Reuters, almost 10 out of every 11 earnings pre-announcements for the current reporting season from S&P 500 companies have lowered estimates.

    U.S. banks are in the spotlight this week, with JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), Bank of America (BAC.N), Citigroup (C.N) and Goldman Sachs (GS.N) reporting quarterly earnings.

    Among commodities, gold hovered near a four-week high at $1,252.15 per ounce, having gained 0.5 percent overnight to extend Friday’s 1.6 percent rally following the disappointing U.S. employment report.

    U.S. crude futures dipped 0.2 percent to $91.63 a barrel, adding to Monday’s 1 percent drop after news of a deal between Western powers and Iran to curb the OPEC country’s nuclear programme and as production resumed from Libya and a key North Sea oilfield.

    Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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