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Asian Shares Fall After Fed Policy Statement

asian down 09nov18 lt

Asian stocks ended broadly lower on Friday after the Federal Reserve reiterated its hawkish stance and the populist government in Rome flatly dismissed the EU's more pessimistic outlook for the Italian economy, deepening a rift with the European Union.

China's Shanghai Composite Index slumped 36.76 points or 1.4 percent to 2,598.87 as policymakers struggle to dispel stock market gloom with promises of tax cuts and more bank lending. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index plummeted 625.80 points or 2.4 percent to close at 25,601.92.

Consumer prices in China rose 2.5 percent year-on-year in October, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a report. That was in line with expectations and unchanged from the September reading.

The bureau also said that producer prices climbed an annual 3.3 percent, matching forecasts and slowing from 3.6 percent in the previous month.

Japanese markets fell as the inflation data from China as well as lingering concerns of slowing growth pulled down shares of companies that have large exposure to China. The Nikkei 225 Index tumbled 236.67 points or 1.1 percent to 22,250.25 after hitting a 2-1/2-week high in the previous session. The broader Topix index ended down 0.5 percent at 1,672.98.

Industrial robotics company Fanuc plummeted 5.8 percent, cosmetics maker Shiseido lost 5 percent and gaming giant Nintendo shed 2.6 percent.

Australian markets edged lower but scored their second week of gains. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 6.40 points or 0.1 percent to 5,921.80 but ended the week up more than 1 percent. The broader All Ordinaries Index finished slightly lower at 6,011.

Mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto ended narrowly mixed on concerns that they might be hit by new resource regulations to be unveiled by Australia's Queensland state next week. South32 declined 2.8 percent and Bluescope Steel lost 3.3 percent

Energy stocks such as Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Origin Energy and Oil Search dropped 1-2 percent after oil prices fell 1.6 percent on Thursday to extend losses to a ninth straight session on concerns over rising inventories and economic uncertainty.

Property manager LendLease Group plunged 18.3 percent after it announced a A$350 million writedown in the first half of 2019.

In economic news, the total number of home loans issued in Australia fell a seasonally adjusted 1.0 percent in September, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said. That was in line with expectations following the 2.1 percent contraction in August.

South Korean stocks closed lower after the Fed reiterated its view for further interest rate increases. The benchmark Kospi fluctuated before finishing 0.3 percent lower at 2,086.09.

Samsung BioLogics slumped 4.3 percent on suspicions over its alleged accounting fraud in 2015. Celltrion gave up 3.8 percent.

Meanwhile, New Zealand shares eked out modest gains, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index closing 0.40 percent higher at 8,931.40. Fuel retailer Z Energy ended up more than 3 percent to move further away from last week's three-year low.

Overnight, U.S. stocks ended mixed after the Federal Reserve left rates unchanged but signaled further gradual increases in rates despite signs of a slowdown in the pace of growth in business investment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up marginally, while the S&P 500 slid 0.3 percent and the Nasdaq Composite shed half a percent.

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