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Asian markets end lower
Feb 24 2021 3:21PM
Asian stocks fell on Wednesday as persistent worries over inflation and steep asset valuations offset signs that the U.S. Federal Reserve would continue its fiscal policy support.

China's Shanghai Composite index fell 72.28 points, or 1.99 percent, to 3,564.08 as U.S. President Joe Biden showed readiness to meddle the Canadian citizens' evacuation from Beijing.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index tumbled 914.40 points, or 2.99 percent, to 29,718.24, as the city raised the stamp duty on stock trading for the first time since 1993.

Japanese shares fell sharply as tech stocks succumbed to selling pressure following a decline in the Nasdaq Composite index overnight.

The Nikkei average dropped 484.33 points, or 1.61 percent, to 29,671.70, falling below the psychologically important mark for the first time in seven sessions. The broader Topix index closed 1.82 percent lower at 1,903.07.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group plummeted 5.2 percent while chip-related shares such as Tokyo Electron, Shin-Etsu Chemical and Fanuc plunged 3-5 percent.

Department store operators rose on hopes for normalization in the economy after regional governments requested emergency pandemic measures to be lifted ahead of the March 7 scheduled end. IsetanMitsukoshi Holdings, Takashimaya and J. Front Retailing all surged around 5 percent.

Australian markets retreated as commodities stabilized after their recent run-up. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 fell 61.40 points, or 0.90 percent, to 6,777.80, while the broader All Ordinaries index ended down 61.40 points, or 0.86 percent, at 7,049.40.

A drop in Chinese iron ore futures pressured miners, with BHP and Rio Tinto falling around 3 percent. Gold miner Norther Star Resources lost 3.6 percent as a firmer dollar dented the precious metal's appeal.

Technology stocks followed their U.S. peers lower, with buy-now-pay-later giant Afterpay giving up 3 percent ahead of its half-year results due on Thursday.

Woolworths Group rose over 1 percent after the supermarket chain reported a 28 percent jump in its first-half profit. Fuel supplier Viva Energy soared 6 percent despite reporting a full-year loss.

Seoul stocks tumbled to hit near one-month lows as massive foreign selloff raised uncertainties. The benchmark Kospi dipped 75.11 points, or 2.45 percent, to 2,994.98, with tech and bio stocks pacing the decliners.

Hyundai Motor slumped 3.9 percent after saying it would replace batteries in over 25,000 Kona electric vehicles (EVs) due to defects in battery cells.

Business conditions in South Korea deteriorated slightly in February, the Bank of Korea said today with a Business Survey Index score of 82 - down from 85 in January. The outlook for the following month rose by 4 points to 85, the bank said.

New Zealand shares fell notably as the country's central bank held its official cash rate at a record low of 0.25 percent, as expected, and warned that the economic outlook ahead remains "highly uncertain". The benchmark NZX-50 index dropped 106.42 points, or 0.86 percent, 12,282.42.

(Source:RTT News)