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Asia Pares Losses Following Sell-Off

Asian stock markets pared back some of their losses on Tuesday, after they were initially hurt by a sharp sell-off in commodities and concerns about the outlook for growth in the world's biggest two economies.

Two explosions at the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday also unnerved investors, adding to the negative tone in Asian trade.

(Read More: Two Dead, Dozens Injured in Boston Marathon Explosions)

Japan's stock market fell almost 2 percent soon after open but pared back losses to close at 0.41 percent.

South Korea's Kospi initially traded around 0.5 percent down, before recovering to close 0.09 percent up. Australian shares closed 0.34 percent down.

Mainland China's Shanghai Composite closed up 0.59 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down around 0.5 percent.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
NIKKEI
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HSI
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ASX 200
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SHANGHAI
---
KOSPI
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CNBC 100
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The sell-off added to losses seen on Monday following news of an unexpected slowdown in China's economic growth in the first quarter of the year. That news sparked a sell-off in commodities, which then fueled the selling in global stock markets.

(Read More: Has China's Economy Hit a 'Dead End'?)

Gold was the hardest hit, falling 9 percent on Monday and suffering its worst two-day sell-off in 30 years.

The precious metal continued to sell-off on Tuesday, dipping to levels of around $1,321 per ounce, down near 16 percent from a high of $1,590 per ounce a week ago. By mid-afternoon on Tuesday it had rebounded slightly to around $1,373 per ounce.

(Read More: Here's Why Gold Is Getting Crushed)

The price of Brent crude oil also dipped below $100 per barrel, a low not seen since the third quarter of last year.

(Read More: Commodity Super Cycle Is Dead: Citi)

Analysts said the sell-off in global equity markets could be the start of a sizable correction in stocks, which have enjoyed strong gains for several months now.

"The market has been ready for a sizable correction for some time now," said Ben Lichtenstein, president at Tradersaudio.com. "Everyone said a correction was due, it was just a question of when."

Australian Miners Continue Sell-Off

Gold mining stocks on the Australian benchmark continued to suffer from the impact of a weaker gold price, following double digit losses on Monday.

Evolution Mining lost 18 percent and Alacer Gold and Medusa Mining, which suffered steep losses on Monday, were both down another 11 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively by the close of trade on Tuesday.

"In Australia ...political and domestic economic unhappiness, combined with exaggerated fears over China, Europe and the U.S., are a potent mix for the local bourse. I believe the absolute worst case scenario is the market remaining heavy for another 7-8 trading days," added Clifford Bennett, chief economist at White Crane Group

Nikkei Slumps

The Japanese benchmark was dragged down by declines in telecommunications company SoftBank, which fell over 6 percent, after the satellite-TV provider Dish Network made a rival $25.5 billion bid for U.S. wireless carrier Sprint Nextel in an effort to derail SoftBank's planned acquisition of the company.

A strengthening in the yen to 97.62 per dollar also weighed on Japanese equities, which have benefited from the yen's weakening trend. The currency weakened to near 100 against the dollar last week.

"Investors went back into the Japanese currency as its safe haven status shone out despite the pending ramp up in the country's QE [quantitative easing] program," said Tony Farnham, economist at Australian stockbroker Patersons Securities.

South Korea Dips

Further declines in the shares of equipment manufacturer Mando Corporation weakened the South Korean benchmark on Tuesday as the stock fell another 6.6 percent by close. On Monday it plunged by 15 percent after it announced a plan to support its loss-making sister company Halla Engineering & Construction, Reuters reported.

Symbol
Price
 
Change
%Change
JPY/USD
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GOLD
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NIKKEI
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KOSPI
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ASX 200
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BRENT
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SHANGHAI
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HSI
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