Asian markets fall on dim growth outlook

HONG KONG  - Asian shares slipped Friday after a recent rally as investors weighed the prospect of new stimulus measures from the US and China, the world’s two biggest economies, to revive faltering growth.Concerns about Greece also kept investors on edge, with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras set to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel later in the day as Athens struggles to meet reform conditions for continued financial aid.Japan dipped 1.17 per cent, or 107.36 points, to 9,070.76, while Sydney closed down 0.79 per cent, or 34.7 points, at 4,349.Seoul ended 1.17 per cent, or 22.73 points, lower at 1,919.81 as a court ruled technology titans Apple and Samsung infringed on each other’s patents on mobile devices and imposed a partial ban on their product sales in South Korea.Hong Kong fell 1.25 per cent, or 252.21 points, to 19,880.03 while Shanghai slipped 0.99 per cent, or 20.97 points, to 2,092.10.Poor industry-related data from China and the eurozone released Thursday increased concerns about the slowdown in the global economy.China’s manufacturing activity fell to a nine-month low in August as firms struggled with global woes, providing further impetus for Beijing to beef up economic stimulus efforts, British banking giant HSBC said Thursday.Preliminary figures from HSBC’s closely watched purchasing managers’ index (PMI), which gauges nationwide manufacturing activity, hit 47.8 this month, the lowest since November.Private business across the eurozone also showed a seventh consecutive monthly decline in August, according to a key purchasing managers’ index, with analysts warning that the single currency area was at a pivotal point if it is to escape a prolonged recession.The release of minutes on Wednesday from the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting showing US central bankers worried about slowing growth drove US stocks down, giving them their worst day this month.The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 115.30 points (0.88 per cent) at 13,057.46.The broader S&P 500 index lost 11.41 points (0.81 per cent) to 1,402.08, while the tech-rich Nasdaq shed 20.27 (0.66 per cent) to 3,053.40.Markets are now looking ahead to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s speech next week as traders hoped that the United States will unleash more stimulus measures.Greece weighed on sentiment after the prime minister on Wednesday called for more time to make painful spending cuts and reforms that are needed to unlock funds to keep the debt-wracked country afloat.Giving Greece more time to implement necessary structural reforms and austerity measures would not solve its severe problems, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told public radio on Thursday.In oil markets, New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in October shed 59 cents to $95.68 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for October delivery dipped 47 cents to $114.54.The euro bought $1.2533 and 98.44 yen in Asian afternoon trade, hardly changed from $1.2562 and 98.59 yen in New York late Thursday.The dollar changed hands at 78.55 yen against 78.47 yen in US trade.Gold was at $1,665.90 at 1045 GMT, compared to $1,661.33 on Thursday.In other markets:* Taipei fell 0.37 per cent, or 27.64 points, to 7,477.53.Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co dropped 0.85 per cent to Tw$82.0 while Hon Hai Precision edged down 0.23 per cent to Tw$86.9.* Wellington lost 1.11 per cent, or 40.75 points, to 3,622.59.Telecom Corp slumped 8.53 per cent to NZ$2.52, while Fletcher Building rose 1.6 per cent to NZ$6.47.* Manila was 1.14 per cent, or 59.49 points, lower at 5,143.35. SM Investments dropped 5.37 per cent to 705 pesos, while Ayala Corporation fell 2.09 per cent to 421 pesos.* Kuala Lumpur fell 0.21 per cent, or 3.39 points, to 1,648.22.Budget carrier AirAsia slipped 2.5 per cent to 3.51 ringgit, while British American Tobacco gained 1.3 per cent to 63.80 ringgit.* Singapore closed down 0.19 per cent, or 5.88 points, to 3,050.49.Fraser and Neave soared 1.56 per cent to Sg$8.45 while Keppel Corporation shed 1.64 per cent to Sg$11.39.* Jakarta slipped 0.41 per cent, or 17.26 points, to 4,145.4.Mining company Aneka Tambang fell 0.79 per cent to 1,250 rupiah, while palm oil company Astra Agro Lestari fell 1.14 per cent to 21,750 rupiah.* Bangkok fell 0.04 per cent, or 0.45 points, to 1,237.19.* Mumbai slipped 0.38 per cent, or 67.01 points, to 17,783.21.Steel maker Tata Steel fell 2.73 per cent to 387.7 rupees while private aluminium producer Hindalco was down 1.99 per cent to 110.95 rupees.

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