- POSTED: 03 Jan 2014 17:44
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Asian markets slipped on Friday after Wall Street's three main indexes began the new year in the red on profit-taking following a solid 2013, while Hong Kong and Shanghai were hit by weak Chinese services sector data.
HONG KONG: Asian markets slipped on Friday after Wall Street's three main indexes began the new year in the red on profit-taking following a solid 2013, while Hong Kong and Shanghai were hit by weak Chinese services sector data.
The dollar extended losses against the yen suffered in New York just days after hitting a five-year high.
Sydney eased 0.33 per cent, or 17.8 points, to 5,350.1 and Seoul fell 1.07 per cent, or 21.05 points, to close at 1,946.14.
Hong Kong tumbled 2.24 per cent, or 522.77 points, to 22,817.28, and Shanghai was off 1.24 per cent, or 26.25 points, at 2,083.14, after official figures showed an index of China's services saw growth slow in December.
Bangkok fell for a second day, shedding 0.55 per cent in the afternoon -- after diving more than five per cent on Thursday -- as anti-government protests grip the capital amid fears that elections due next month will not go ahead.
And in India, Mumbai's Sensex was 0.44 per cent lower after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he would leave office after polls due this year even if his embattled Congress party wins a third term.
Tokyo was closed for a public holiday.
With some investors in the region still away at the end of a holiday-shortened week and Tokyo still shut, trade remained quieter than usual going into 2014.
In other markets, Taipei lost 0.77 per cent, or 66.00 points, to end at 8,546.54, and Manila fell 0.61 per cent, or 36.33 points, to 5,947.93.
Wall Street provided a soft lead as dealers cashed in after the Dow and S&P 500 ended 2013 at record highs, while the Nasdaq closed on Tuesday at its highest level for the year.
The Dow fell 0.82 per cent, the S&P 500 declined 0.89 per cent and the Nasdaq gave up 0.80 per cent.
Chinese investors, already worried about a share glut as initial public offerings begin after a year-long hiatus, were spooked on Friday by figures showing growth in the mainland non-manufacturing sector fell sharply in December from November.
The sector covers services including, among others, retail, aviation, software and real-estate.
The data came on the heels of news from around the world that the manufacturing sector had seen an easing of activity last month.
On Thursday, HSBC confirmed that Chinese manufacturing grew at its slowest pace in three months in December. That came a day after Beijing said its purchasing managers' index (PMI) had shown a slowdown in the rate of growth for the first time since June.
Later in the day in the United States, the Institute for Supply Management said US manufacturing sector growth slowed slightly in December but remained robust.
There was a slight uptick in the eurozone PMI, although that was offset by ongoing weakness in France.
In Forex trade, the dollar bought 104.34 yen compared with 104.69 yen in New York on Thursday, and well down from the 105.41 yen it touched earlier this week, which was its highest since October 2008.
The euro was at US$1.3650 against US$1.3665, while it also fetched 142.46 yen from 143.06 yen.
Thailand's baht sat around a four-year low of 33.00 against the dollar as the country is wracked by the deepening political crisis ahead of the elections, scheduled for early February.
Oil prices were mixed. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for February delivery, rose eight cents to US$95.52 in afternoon trade while Brent North Sea crude for February rose 38 cents to US$108.16.
Gold fetched US$1,233.55 at 0800 GMT compared with US$1,220.70 late Thursday.