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Asian stocks slip after major US sell-off

Asian markets ended their recent rally on Friday (August 1) after the Dow posted its biggest single sell-off since February on weak eurozone data and as news of Argentina's debt default shook the market.

HONG KONG: Asian markets ended their recent rally on Friday (August 1) after the Dow posted its biggest single day sell-off since February on weak eurozone data and as news of Argentina's debt default shook the market. But the dollar inched up against other major currencies in Asia on Friday as investors predicted upcoming US jobs data for July would be solid.

Tokyo's Nikkei fell 0.63 percent or 97.66 points, closing at 15,523.11; Sydney dropped 76.5 points, or 1.36 percent, to finish at 5,556.4; and Seoul dipped 0.15 percent, or 3.02 points, to end at 2,073.10.

Hong Kong was down 0.91 percent , with the benchmark Hang Seng Index dropping 224.42 points to 24,532.43.  Shanghai fell 0.74 percent, or 16.26 points, to close at 2,185.30, while Shenzhen also lost 1.01 percent, or 11.72 points, to 1,148.29.

The declines came despite Chinese manufacturing activity increasing sharply in July and rising at its fastest pace in more than two years, according to official statistics. The official purchasing managers index, which is a leading indicator of overall economic activity, hit 51.7 last month - its best showing since April 2012.

In the United States, The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 1.88 percent to 16,563.30, erasing all its gains since the end of 2013. The broad-based S&P 500 sank 2.00 percent to a seven-week low while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 2.09 percent.

The causes of the fall are diverse but a key catalyst was the failure of Argentine Economy Minister Axel Kicillof and US hedge funds to reach a deal, setting the stage for Argentina's second default in 13 years.

French bank Credit Agricole said investors were awaiting the release of July's US labour market report later Friday for clues about the state of the world's biggest economy. National Australia Bank (NAB) predicted US jobs creation will have stayed solid for July, forecasting an increase of 230,000 in non-farm payrolls.

The dollar was at 102.93 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, compared with 102.80 yen in New York on Thursday afternoon. The euro bought US$1.3384 against US$1.3390 in US trade while firming to 137.79 yen from 137.65 yen.

On oil markets, the benchmark West Texas Intermediate for September delivery eased nine cents to US$98.08 while Brent crude for September gained six cents to US$106.08 in afternoon trade. Gold fetched US$1,284.40 an ounce by 1100 GMT compared with US$1,284.62 late Thursday.

IN OTHER MARKETS: 

- Mumbai fell 1.6 percent, or 414.13 points, to 25,480.84. Tata Motors dipped 7.40 rupees to 439.50, Tata Power fell 3.0 rupees to 94.95 while Maruti gained 62.50 rupees to 2587.00.

- Bangkok slipped 0.15 percent, or 2.19 points, to 1,500.20. Big C Supercenter fell 3.46 percent to 223.00 baht, while Krung Thai Bank gained 4.19 percent to 22.40 baht.

- Kuala Lumpur's main index lost 8.02 points, or 0.43 percent, to 1,863.34. Utility Tenaga Nasional shed 0.2 percent to 12.40 ringgit, while SapuraKencana Petroleum fell 1.2 percent to 4.26. DiGi.com gained 0.4 percent to 5.71 ringgit.

- Singapore closed down 0.88 percent, or 29.64 points, at 3,344.42. Agribusiness company Wilmar International eased 0.31 percent to S$3.26 while oil rig maker Keppel Corp was down 1.10 percent to S$10.84.

- Taipei fell 49.34 points, or 0.53 percent, to 9,266.51. TSMC fell 0.83 percent to T$120.0 while HTC rose 2.64 percent to T$136.0.

- Wellington closed 1.12 percent or 58.06 points down at 5,109.93. Fletcher Building was down 2.30 percent at NZ$8.91 while Contact Energy was off 0.72 percent at NZ$5.50. 

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