Japanese stocks fell, with the Topix index set to cap its biggest monthly loss in more than three years, as comments from Federal Reserve officials renewed speculation the U.S. may raise interest rates as soon as September.
The Topix slipped 0.7 percent to 1,538.78 as of 9:03 a.m. in Tokyo, heading for an 7.3 percent drop in August, the biggest such plunge since May 2012. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.8 percent to 18,976.20, on course for a 7.8 percent monthly loss. The yen strengthened 0.3 percent to 121.31 per dollar, halting four days of declines. U.S. stock futures tumbled after Fed officials meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, said inflation was likely to improve, dousing investor expectations that interest-rate hikes would be delayed until December.