The yen weakened for the first time in four days against the dollar as Japan’s deputy economy minister backed further declines. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fluctuated near a five-year high while Apple Inc. tumbled after posting the slowest sales growth in 14 quarters.
Japan’s currency declined 1.4 percent to 89.86 per dollar at 9:33 a.m. in New York. The S&P 500 rose less than 0.1 percent, while the Nasdaq-100 Index sank 0.7 percent as Apple shares slumped 11 percent in early New York trading. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was little changed. The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose two basis points to 1.84 percent. Silver and nickel led metals lower. Oil jumped 0.9 percent.
A yen at 100 to the dollar wouldn’t be a problem, Yasutoshi Nishimura said in an interview in Tokyo, even after the currency’s 11 percent drop in the past three months. Sales at Apple missed analysts’ estimates amid rising costs and accelerating competition with Samsung Electronics Co. Euro-area services and manufacturing output contracted at a slower pace than economists estimated, according to a report from Markit Economics. Claims for jobless benefits in the U.S. unexpectedly dropped last week to a five-year low, the Labor Department said.
Nishimura’s “comments reinforce investor expectations that the Japanese government would like to see dollar-yen extend its recent correction higher,” Lee Hardman, a currency strategist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in London, wrote in a report today.
The yen dropped at least 0.4 percent against its 16 major peers. The Japanese currency tumbled 1.6 percent versus the euro. Europe’s single currency gained 0.3 percent to $1.3351.
Apple, the world’s most valuable company, dropped to as low as $458.65 in pre-market trading. A close at that price would be the lowest in more than 11 months. Apple stock accounts for 15 percent of the Nasdaq-100 and 3.6 percent of the S&P 500.
Profit in the quarter to Dec. 29 was little changed at $13.1 billion, the company said. Sales rose 18 percent to $54.5 billion, falling short of $54.9 billion, the average analyst estimate compiled by Bloomberg.
“Apple genuinely disappointed people,” said Todd Morgan, senior managing director at Los Angeles-based Bel Air Investment Advisors, which manages about $6 billion. “The market’s had a terrific run here, so we were looking for some kind of correction and this might be the catalyst.”
The S&P 500 rose to a five-year high in regular trading yesterday after U.S. lawmakers voted to temporarily suspend the federal debt limit. The benchmark gauge of American stocks has climbed 4.8 percent this year. Some 75 percent of the 134 S&P 500 companies that released results beat profit projections, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Applications for unemployment insurance payments decreased by 5,000 to 330,000 in the week ended Jan. 19, the fewest since the same week in 2008, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. Economists forecast 355,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.
Three shares advanced for every two that fell in the Stoxx 600. EasyJet Plc climbed 5.5 percent as Europe’s second-largest discount carrier said fiscal first-quarter sales gained 9.2 percent. Opap SA tumbled 11 percent in Athens trading as the European Union’s highest court said Greece’s gambling monopoly is unlawful. Logitech International SA, the world’s biggest maker of computer mice, fell 10 percent in Zurich after posting a third-quarter loss of $195 million.
The cost of insuring against default on bank debt climbed for a third day, with the Markit iTraxx Financial index of credit-default swaps on 25 lenders and insurers rising two basis points to 140 basis points, a three-week high.
Silver fell 2 percent, the first drop in nine days, and nickel slipped 1 percent. New York crude climbed 0.9 percent to $96.04 a barrel. China is the biggest buyer of industrial metals and energy.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index fell 0.4 percent as technology stocks declined. South Korea’s Kospi index slid 0.8 percent after economic growth data missed estimates and North Korea threatened a nuclear test. Taiwan’s Taiex lost 0.6 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.8 percent and Russia’s Micex slid 0.4 percent.
The rupee was little changed at 53.6850 per dollar after falling to as low as 53.8913. India increased the limit on foreign investment in local-currency bonds by $10 billion to $75 billion, the central bank said.