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Japan, Hong Kong suffer rough end to week

January 24, 2014

Japanese stocks slid Friday, marking a sharp loss for the benchmark index after China -growth worries prompted a selloff on Wall Street . Japan's Nikkei 225 index plummeted 304.33 points, or 1.9%, to 15,391.56. Hong Kong stocks fell Friday as major mainland Chinese banks declined on investors' concerns of a possible trust product defaulting. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 283.84 points, or 1.3%, to 22,450.06. Hitachi Ltd. fell 3%, Toshiba Corp. shed 1.6% and Sony Corp. lost 1.3%. A stronger yen tends to make Japanese products sent abroad more expensive. A forecast for stronger vehicle sales this year couldn't shield shares of Toyota Motor Corp. from the broader selloff, as they lost 1.2%. But shares of Apple Inc. supplier Murata Manufacturing Co. gained 1.1% after Apple shares advanced on the back of billionaire investor Carl Icahn's campaign to convince Apple to raise its share buyback program by another $50 billion U.S. Both ICBC and Bank of China Ltd. lost 0.6%, while China Merchants Bank Co. fell 1.3%, and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. slipped 0.5%. Citic 21CN , a Chinese integrated information and content provider, more than quadrupled its price after the company said in a filing that e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Yunfeng Capital would invest 1.33 billion Hong Kong dollars ( $172 million U.S.) for a more than 54% stake in the company, in a move to use Citic 21CN's drug data and Alibaba's e-commerce capbilities to build a pharmaceutical information platform. Alibaba's major rival in China , Tencent Holdings Ltd. retreated 2%. Singapore's industrial production unexpectedly rose in December on a rebound in electronics output and a strong performance by the marine and offshore industry. Industrial output rose 6.2% in December compared with a year earlier, almost matching a revised 6.6% expansion in November. The expansion contrasted with a median 0.4% contraction predicted by five economists polled by The Wall Street Journal. In Australia , financials showed some weakness following sizable losses in the U.S. session, with Australia & New Zealand Banking Group off 0.7%, while National Australia Bank Ltd. and Westpac Banking Corp. gave up 0.3% apiece. CHINA Shanghai's CSI 300 index recovered 13.79 points, or 0.6%, to 2,245.68 Haitong Securities Co. said that its 2013 earnings rose 33% on year, boosted by rapid growth in innovative businesses, such as margin trading and short selling, as well as higher investment income. In other markets; Korea's Kospi index slipped 7.03 points, or 0.4%, to 1,940.56 Taiwan's Taiex Index inched higher by 3.21 points to 8,598.31 The Singapore Straits Times Index docked 24.25 points, or 0.8%, to 3,075.99 In New Zealand , the NZX 50 slid 37.38 points, or 0.8%, to 4,873.70 In Australia , the S&P/ASX 200 retreated 22.06 points, or 0.4%, to 5,240.93

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Source: Baystreet Foreign Markets Wrap (Canada)

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