Asian stocks gain but Japan down on yen strength

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A man walks by an electronic stock price indicator showing the regional heavyweight, Tokyo's Nikkei 225, that shed 201.97 points, or 1.36 percent and closed at 14,606.88, in Tokyo Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Asian stock markets were mixed Tuesday after Japan's central bank refrained from expanding its stimulus and declines in tech stocks weighed on prices. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO (AP) — Asian stocks were mostly higher Wednesday, except for Japan where the main index tumbled on a rise in the yen.

The Nikkei 225, the benchmark for the Tokyo Stock Exchange, was down 1.8 percent at 14,340.44. The dollar was trading just below 102 yen, down from about 104 yen a month earlier, which if sustained could hurt sales at export reliant companies.

The central bank's decision Tuesday to refrain from adding to its already lavish monetary stimulus has helped to push the yen higher. There had been hopes for more stimulus in the wake of an increase in Japan's sales tax to 8 percent from 5 percent that could crimp economic recovery.

Other markets rebounded after Wall Street broke a three-day losing streak.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.1 percent to 22,843.94 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.1 percent to 1,994.34. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1.2 percent to 5,474.90. Markets in Southeast Asia also rose.

Investors have grown jittery lately about whether technology, Internet and biotech stocks are largely overvalued, which sparked a sell-off in the U.S. But the losing streak was snapped Tuesday. The S&P 500 rose 6.92 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,851.96. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 10.27 points, or 0.06 percent, to 16,256.14. The Nasdaq composite rose 33.23 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4,112.99.

Benchmark U.S. crude for May delivery was down 22 cents at $102.35 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $2.12 to $102.56 on Tuesday because of renewed unrest in eastern Ukraine and a lowered domestic production forecast from the U.S. Energy Department.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3793 from $1.3796 late Tuesday. The dollar rose to 101.97 yen from 101.90 yen.


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