Japanese stocks fell, with the Topix index retreating from a six-year high, as the yen strengthened after Moodys Investors Service cut the countrys credit rating in the first downgrade of Prime Minister Shinzo Abes regime.
The Topix lost 0.5 percent to 1,414.76 as of 9:05 a.m. in Tokyo. All but five of the 33 industry groups slid. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average declined 0.6 percent to 17,488.50. The yen dropped to 119.14 per dollar right after Moodys announcement yesterday before reversing course and gaining 0.2 percent. It added 0.1 percent to 118.28 today after last month weakening the most since January 2013. West Texas Intermediate crude futures posted the biggest advance in two years yesterday after tumbling 10 percent on Nov. 28.
Moodys cut the rating one level to A1 after Abe decided to delay a sales-tax increase by 18 months as an initial estimate of gross domestic product showed the economy contracted in the September quarter, sending the country back into recession.