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Asian Shares Slide On Earnings Woes

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Asian stocks fell on Thursday as investors remained worried about a hit to corporate earnings from the prolonged U.S.-China trade war and a Japan-South Korea trade dispute.

Chinese shares fell on fears over slowing growth and the impact of the trade dispute with the United States. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 30.52 points or 1 percent to 2,901.18, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 131.51 points or 0.5 percent to 28,461.66.

Japanese shares saw their worst single-day loss in nearly four months as weak exports data and disappointing U.S. corporate earnings raised fresh worries about the impact of the U.S.-China trade war.

Japanese exports fell 6.7 percent in June from a year earlier against a backdrop of slowing global growth, the Ministry of Finance said in a report. That missed forecasts for a drop of 5.4 percent following the 7.4 percent drop in May.

Exports to China, Japan's biggest trading partner, fell 10 percent from a year earlier, marking the sixth drop in the past seven months.

The Nikkei 225 Index plunged 422.94 points or 2 percent to 21,046.24, hitting a one-month low and marking its second biggest slide so far this year. The broader Topix closed 2.1 percent lower at 1,534.27.

Canon slumped 4 percent on a Nikkei report that its operating profit will likely fall by 40 percent this year. NOK Corp, a manufacturer of sealant products, plunged 6.4 percent after slashing its earnings outlook.

On the other hand, Car parts maker Akebono Brake Industry soared 7.8 percent after saying it would receive an investment from a corporate turnaround fund.

Australian shares ended lower as iron ore prices retreated from record levels and Woodside Petroleum reported a 32 percent drop in second-quarter revenue. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 24.20 points or 0.4 percent to 6,649.10, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 28.60 points or 0.4 percent at 6,735.40.

Woodside Petroleum tumbled 2.7 percent as it suffered its first drop in revenue in six quarters. Santos fell 1.7 percent, Oil Search slumped 4.5 percent and Beach Energy declined 5.4 percent.

Westpac Banking Corp slid 0.4 percent and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group eased 0.3 percent as Fitch Ratings lowered their outlook to "negative" from "stable."

Miners BHP, Fortescue Metals Group and Rio Tinto fell between 0.8 percent and 1.7 percent after iron ore futures in China dropped more than 1 percent on Wednesday.

South32 declined 1.7 percent after saying it has received bids for its South Africa Energy Coal assets.

Meanwhile, gold miner Evolution Mining jumped 5.2 percent and Northern Star climbed 4.4 percent after gold prices rose to a six-year high overnight.

Property giant Lendlease Group soared 4.8 percent after it signed a A$20 billion deal with Google to develop 15 million square feet of residential, retail, hospitality and community space across three neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area.

On the economic front, the unemployment rate in Australia came in at a seasonally adjusted 5.2 percent in June, unchanged and in line with expectations. The economy added 500 jobs last month - well shy of expectations for an increase of 9,000 jobs following the increase of 42,300 jobs in May.

South Korea's Kospi ended down 6.37 points or 0.3 percent at 2,066.55 after the Bank of Korea unexpectedly cut its policy interest rate for the first time in three years, citing ongoing weakness in exports amid trade disputes.

At the same time, New Zealand shares bucked the downtrend, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index ending up 86.29 points or 0.8 percent at 10,741.09. Refiners paced the gainers due to falling oil prices.

U.S. stocks fell overnight, with weak results from CSX Corp. and disappointing housing data weighing on markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.4 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed half a percent and the S&P 500 declined 0.7 percent.

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