Japan stocks fell, with the Topix index halting its longest winning streak since June, as strong U.S. data bolstered the case for raising interest rates.
The Topix dropped 0.2 percent to 1,655.90 as of 9:05 a.m. in Tokyo, heading for its first decline in nine days. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average retreated 0.3 percent to 20,394.36. The yen traded at 123.08 per dollar after yesterday falling 1.3 percent to its weakest since July 2007. The MSCI World Index lost the most since March 10, with concern Greece’s debt crisis could spread across Europe also weighing on shares.
Better-than-estimated capital goods orders and new-home sales came after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated the central bank will raise rates this year if the economy improves as she expects. Fed Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester echoed her comments on Monday, saying the U.S. economy is close to the point where it can support higher borrowing costs.
Greece’s government continued negotiating for a bailout ahead of an International Monetary Fund payment due next month. The nation’s finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, blamed insistence on more austerity for the lack of a deal that would release the funds. Spanish bonds slumped after the anti-austerity party made advances in local elections across the country.