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Asian stocks mixed after tech tumble, strong yen

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YURI KAGEYAMA | April 8, 2014 10:09 PM EST | AP

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TOKYO (AP) — Asian stocks were mixed Wednesday, as the region's main bourse in Tokyo tumbled on the yen's rise set off by fading expectations for monetary easing by the Japanese central bank.

The Nikkei, the benchmark for the Tokyo Stock Exchange, was down 1.6 percent at 14,375.63 in early trading. Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged up 0.7 percent to 22,749.25, and South Korea's Kospi added 0.2 percent to 1,996.22 in morning trading.

The lackluster trend was a carry-over from the previous day. Weighing heavily on market sentiments in Japan was the strong yen, which works as a minus for the nation's giant exporters like Toyota Motor Corp.

A strong yen reduces the value of such companies' overseas earnings, and the recent trend of a hefty dollar had been delivering a big boost to their earnings.

The dollar was trading at 101 yen-levels in early trading, above what it did overnight in the U.S., but still below the 102-yen levels it was trading in Tokyo the previous day.

The dollar was slowly gaining ground at 101.98 yen in early Tokyo trading, while the euro was trading at $1.38.

Wall Street overnight managed to recover earlier losses after a day of nervous trading, with the S&P 500 up 0.4 percent, and the Dow Jones industrial average inching up 0.06 percent.

Market players have grown jittery lately about whether technology, Internet and biotech stocks are largely overvalued.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed down 0.5 percent at 6,590.69 while Germany's DAX fell 0.2 percent to 9,490.79. The CAC-40 in France was 0.3 percent lower at 4,424.83.

The decision by Japan's central bank Tuesday to leave its policy unchanged dashed traders hopes for more stimulus in the wake of the rise in the nation's sales tax hike from 5 percent to 8 percent.

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Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at twitter.com/yurikageyama