Asian stocks sink on Syria fears [Daily Tribune (Bahrain)]
(Daily Tribune (Bahrain) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) ? ? Asian markets fell sharply yesterday, while oil prices rose and emerging market currencies sank, as the West stepped up preparations for a possible military strike on Syria. The losses extended falls on Tuesday and followed drops on Wall Street and in Europe as investors ran for cover, while stocks and currencies in developing Asian countries came under renewed pressure. Adding to the tensions in the Middle East are concerns about a looming row in Washington over the US debt ceiling, which could leave the country in political deadlock. Tokyo tumbled 1.51 per cent, or 203.91 points, to 13,338.46 and Sydney shed 1.05pc, or 54.0 points, to close at 5,087.2. Seoul clawed back some early losses to end flat, edging down 1.32 points to 1,884.52. Shanghai was off 0.11pc, or 2.27 points, at 2,101.30 while Hong Kong ended at a fiveweek low, slipping 1.60pc, or 350.12 points, to 21,524.65. Emerging markets in Asia already seeing selling because of the expected wind-down of the US Federal Reserve's massive stimulus programme were mostly lower. Jakarta closed 1.48pc higher, but Kuala Lumpur was off 0.89pc and Bangkok lost 1.41pc. Manila ended down 3.02pc, or 178.93 points, at 5,738.06 as traders grew jittery before the release of economic growth data today. However, it managed to pare earlier losses that saw it down almost 6pc. The West, led by the United States, is edging closer to a targeted strike on Syria, which is accused of carrying out a gas attack on August 21 that killed hundreds of civilians. In other markets, India's benchmark 30-share Sensex index rose 0.16pc, or 28.07 points, to 17,996.15 points after earlier diving more than 3pc on concerns over the impact of a vast new food programme for the poor. Singapore closed down 0.98pc, or 29.84 points, at 3,004.18. Real estate developer Capital and eased 2.33pc to Sg$2.93 while oil rig maker Keppel Corp shed 0.58pc at Sg$10.23. Taipei ended flat, edging up 3.70 points to 7,824.54. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co added 1.26pc to Tw$96.8 while Hon Hai Precision was 0.87pc lower at Tw$79.3. Wellington gave up 0.71pc, or 32.31 points, to 4,509.72. Air New Zealand shed 1.44pc to NZ$1.37, while SkyCity was off 0.76pc at NZ$3.93 and Telecom slipped 1.79pc to NZ$2.20. ? ?
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