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Asia Markets
Asia Stocks Mostly Lower on Growth Fears
From the Wall Street Journal of Tue, 09 Dec 2014 21:45:28 EST
Pedestrians walk past a share prices board showing the numbers on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Dec. 10, 2014.
Pedestrians walk past a share prices board showing the numbers on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Dec. 10, 2014. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Stocks across Asia were mostly lower Wednesday, weighed down by economic growth concerns throughout the region. In China, stocks flitted between negative and positive territory amid worries that more losses for Shanghai may be in store.

The Shanghai Composite Index was up as much as 1.7% and down as much as 1.6% within the first hour of trading. The index appeared headed for another volatile day, just one day after the worst drop in five years. Analysts say a short-term correction could be due for the region’s best-performing benchmark.

The index plunged 5.4% Tuesday following a surprise move by Beijing to rein in lending that fueled concerns about growth in the world’s No. 2 economy.

The choppiness remained contained to the mainland, however, where the market is driven by retail investors. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was off by 0.2% at 23445.89.

Chinese inflation rose less than expected, providing policy makers ample room for further stimulus to support growth, a positive for the market. China’s consumer-price index rose 1.4% from a year earlier in November, a five-year low, after a 1.6% on-year rise in October, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Wednesday. Economists had expected a 1.6% gain.

Elsewhere in the region, the Nikkei Stock Average was down 1.5% at 17540.92, Australia’s S&PASX 200 was down 1.1% to 5226.30 and Korea’s Kospi was down 0.6% to 1958.42.

The weakness contrasts to performance in the U.S., where investors overnight were able to shake off a steep global selloff Tuesday by holding fast to their optimism toward U.S. growth.

Japanese stocks fell as the yen rose. The U.S. dollar traded at ¥119.47, down from ¥119.70 late Tuesday in New York.

In Australia, consumer confidence slumped in December, in response to a sharp slowdown in the economy. The Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment index fell by 5.7% in December from November to 91.1 points in a dire reading that may increase the chances of further rate cuts next year.

Write to Chao Deng at Chao.Deng@wsj.com



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