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Most Asian markets fall as Hong Kong tumbles nearly 2 percent

Most Asian markets fall as Hong Kong tumbles nearly 2 percent

Most Asian markets fell Friday, as Hong Kong shares lost nearly 2 percent amid worries that China may raise interest rates. Japanese stocks dipped on Wall Street's drop overnight and weak local consumer price data.
In Tokyo, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 36.37 points, or 0.21 percent, to finish at 17,421.93 points. On Thursday, the index touched briefly touched its highest point since July 2000.
Sentiment took a hit after the Dow Jones industrial average suffered its biggest decline in two months, falling 119.21, or 0.94 percent to 12,502.56.
Retail companies and other issues judged to be sensitive to domestic demand fell after the government said the core consumer price index rose a lower-than-expected 0.1 percent on year in December. Department store Marui Co. fell 1.77 percent to 1,495 yen (US$12.36).
Other decliners included technology stock Elpida Memory Inc. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc.
In Hong Kong, shares tumbled Friday on concerns over stretched valuations and fears of interest rate hikes on mainland China. The Hang Seng Index shed 388.70 points, or 1.9 percent, to 20,281.13. Of the index's 36 constituents, 32 ended lower.
Investors were worried that China may raise interest rates to curb its rapidly growing economy, analysts said. The recent correction in mainland China's yuan-denominated "A" shares also pulled the blue-chip Hang Seng Index further off its record high reached Wednesday.
Index heavyweight China Mobile fell 4.6 percent to HK$72.65, after dropping 6.3 percent in the past two days.
China Construction Bank fell 2.5 percent to HK$4.70, while Bank of China dropped 1.5 percent to HK$3.93.
Castor Pang, a strategist at Sun Hung Kai Research, said he expected the benchmark index to meet strong support at 20,000. "Most of the selling pressure has been released in the market downturn the past couple of days," he said.
"I guess the correction in the Chinese banking sector is almost done," Pang said. "I don't see too much downside from here."
Chinese developers continued to fall on interest rate-hike concerns after China said early Thursday its economy expanded 10.7 percent last year, its biggest expansion in more than a decade.
In currencies, the dollar was trading at 121.51 yen late Friday, up from 121.11 yen late Thursday in New York. The euro rose to US$1.2934, from US$1.2928.
Elsewhere:
BANGKOK: Thai shares fell 0.5 percent at 657.65, led by blue chips.
BOMBAY: Markets were closed Friday for a national holiday, India's Republic day, and will be closed again on Tuesday for a Muslim holiday.
JAKARTA: Indonesia shares closed lower for the fifth consecutive session. The Jakarta Stock Exchange Composite index was down 0.8 percent at 1,759.21.
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian shares fell but was off earlier lows as late bargain hunting trimmed earlier losses due to profit-taking. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index lost 0.8 percent to 1,170.35 points.
MANILA: Philippine shares plunged as investors locked in profits from a six-day rally that propelled the market to its highest in nearly 10 years. The 30-company Philippine Stock Exchange Index fell 3.4 percent, or 112.37 points, to 3,162.82, after gaining 7.7 percent in the last six sessions.
SEOUL: South Korean shares fell, dragged by losses in heavyweight technology shares. The won fell to its lowest level in more than two months. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index, or Kospi, lost 11.03 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,371.33.
SHANGHAI: Chinese stocks rose, with banks surging on expectations of strong demand next week, helping the market reverse a steep fall early in the session. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.9 percent to 2,882.56, after falling 4 percent Thursday and another 4.8 percent earlier in the day.
SINGAPORE: Singapore's shares ended lower for the second straight session on profit taking and an overnight fall on Wall Street. The Straits Times Index closed down 20.89 points, or 0.67 percent, at 3,087.74.
SYDNEY: Australian markets were closed Friday for the national Australia Day holiday.
TAIPEI: Taiwanese shares fell slightly as investors turned cautious on the technology sector. The Weighted Price Index of the Taiwan Stock Exchange dropped 102.45 points, or 1.3 percent, to 7,821.32.
WELLINGTON: New Zealand's stocks closed marginally lower as the strength of the local currency, particularly against the Australian dollar, tugged down export and dual-listed shares. The benchmark NZX-50 index fell 14 points or 0.4 percent to 4,120.86 in modest trade.


Updated : 2021-04-17 17:20 GMT+08:00