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Asian Stock Markets Decline on Renewed China-US Tensions, COVID-19 Case Worries; Hang Seng Falls 2.1%

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Last updated: 10/15/2020 07:31:36

07:31 AM EDT, 10/15/2020 (MT Newswires) -- Asian markets fell Thursday, hurt in part after a Reuters report, citing sources, said the US State Department has proposed blacklisting Ant Group, the Alibaba (BABA) fintech affiliate eyeing IPOs in Hong Kong and in Shanghai.

Stocks in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo and other regional markets declined, with news of rising COVID-19 infections around the world and the stalled stimulus package in Washington also weighing on Asian equities, said analysts. Sydney stocks, however, closed higher on the prospect of further monetary easing in Australia.

But in a bright spot for Asian trade, shares of music producer Big Hit Entertainment -- which manages the popular K-Pop boy band BTS -- began trading in Seoul and finished up 91%, giving a $7.6 billion market cap to the entertainment concern.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index lost 508.55, or 2.1%, to 24,158.54, as losing issues outnumbered gainers 48 to one. E-commerce colossus Alibaba dropped 4.3% following the Reuters report about Ant Group.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.3% to 3,332.18.

In economic news, mainland China consumer prices in September rose 1.7% year-over-year, while producer prices declined 2.1%. The soft producer prices, also called factory-gate prices, may signal the Chinese economy is still fragile for many manufacturers, said analysts.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 119.50, or 0.5%, to 23,507.23, as losing issues outnumbered gainers 156 to 64.

In economic news, Japan "will significantly ramp up" a program to subsidize businesses to build factories in Southeast Asia and to diversify supply chains away from mainland China, reported the Nikkei Asian Review.

On other exchanges, South Korea's Kospi fell 0.8%; the Taiwan TWSE declined 0.7%; the Australian ASX 200 rose 0.5%; the Singapore Straits Times Index fell 1.3%, and the Thai Set gave up 1.7%. In late trading in Mumbai, the Sensex fell 2.6% after 10 straight trading days of gains.

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