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Asian Shares Retreat As China Worries Weigh

asianmarket 021219 27oct21 lt

Asian stocks ended broadly lower on Wednesday as inflation worries persisted and investors awaited the Bank of Japan and European Central Bank policy meetings for directional cues.

U.S.-China tensions also remained on investors' radar after the U.S. license of one of China's biggest telecoms companies was revoked, citing national security concerns. Chinese shares fell sharply amid heightened U.S.-China tensions over Taiwan.

Meanwhile, media reports suggested that Hui Ka Yan, the billionaire founder of China Evergrande Group, was urged by government authorities to use his own wealth to alleviate a deepening debt crisis.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slumped 35.33 points, or 1 percent, to 3,562.31. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled 409.53 points, or 1.6 percent, to settle at 25,628.74 after Modern Land became the latest Chinese developer to miss a payment on a dollar bond.

Japanese shares ended on a subdued note amid uncertainty heading into the general election. The Nikkei 225 Index finished marginally lower at 29,098.24, while the broader Topix closed 0.2 percent lower at 2,013.81.

Airline ANA Holdings gave up 1.2 percent after a report that it is expected to book an operating loss of around 110 billion yen ($960 million) for the April-September half. Rival Japan Airlines declined 1.8 percent.

Sony and SoftBank Group lost 2-3 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing advanced 1.9 percent.

Australian stocks fluctuated before ending on a flat note after data showed Australian core inflation jumped to a six-year high in the third quarter.

Supermarket giant Woolworths tumbled 3.2 percent after flagging a slowdown in sales. Lower copper prices weighed on the mining sector, with BHP and Rio Tinto losing 1.4 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.

Gold miner Evolution lost 2.4 percent and Northern Star Resources dropped 1.4 percent as bullion prices fell on dollar strength. Telecom giant Telstra Corp. bucked the weak trend to end 3.2 percent higher.

Seoul stocks retreated on foreign and institutional selling amid concerns that corporate earnings may wane after a strong third quarter. The benchmark Kospi lost 23.59 points, or 0.8 percent, to finish at 3,025.49, with tech, chemical and bank stocks leading losses.

In economic news, consumer confidence in South Korea improved in October, the latest survey from the Bank of Korea showed, with a Composite Consumer Sentiment Index score of 106.8 - up from 103.8 in September.

New Zealand shares ended lower after a survey showed business confidence fell in October as a result of cost and inflation pressures. The benchmark NZX-50 Index slipped 55.15 points, or 0.4 percent, to 13,020.26. Diary producer a2 Milk plummeted 11.3 percent after a grim trading update.

U.S. stocks eked out modest gains overnight, as solid corporate earnings as well as encouraging new home sales and consumer confidence data helped offset lingering concerns about growth and inflation.

The Dow ended marginally higher and the S&P 500 inched up 0.2 percent to reach new record closing highs, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ended flat with a positive bias.

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