Asia Markets

Asia stocks fall after US selloff but Shanghai bucks trend


Asian equities were mostly lower on Friday after Wall Street suffered its worst day in nearly two months.

Tech shares were hit following the Nasdaq Composite's 2 percent decline, while commodity-related stocks also took a beating as the dollar index traded near a four-year high.

Analysts cited a combination of factors for the U.S. selloff, including a story on a Russian draft law that would allow the seizure of foreign assets - a long-held fear of investors. Reports on changes in leadership at China's central bank and expectations of higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve also weighed on sentiment, reinforced by comments from Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher. Speaking on Thursday, Fisher said a rate hike could occur in the spring of 2015.

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Nikkei drops 0.9%

Japan's benchmark Nikkei index pared losses after dropping to a one-week low earlier in the session after the government repeated its commitment to reform the country's massive pension fund. That saw dollar-yen breach the 109 level, moving closer to last Friday's six-year low of 109.45. Investors also reacted to lower-than-expected August consumer price inflation (CPI) data released before the market open.

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Banks were among the biggest losers with Mitsubishi UFJ and Mizuho Financial down more than 2 percent each. In the tech space, Olympus slid 3 percent and Sharp fell over 1 percent.

But robotics maker Fanuc bucked the trend to rally 4 percent after raising its full-year profit forecast.

ASX 1.3% lower

Australian's benchmark index ended at a six-month low, resuming its declines following Thursday's modest gain.

Miners were under pressure as iron ore prices slid to a new five-year low. Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals skidded 2 percent each while BHP Billiton closed down 1.8 percent.

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National Australia Bank eased over 1 percent on reports it is looking to sell its life insurance unit.

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Shanghai up 0.1%

Mainland shares managed to buck Asia-wide losses and close at fresh 18-month peaks for the third consecutive session.

Nuclear power firms led the gains on local media reports that nuclear projects may be restarted. Shanghai Electric soared 10 percent while China XD Electric rallied 5 percent.

Real-estate developers were mixed after Moody's warned that home sales could drop up to 10 percent this year. Poly Real Estate shed 1 percent while China Merchants Property rose 0.2 percent.

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Kospi slips 0.1%

South Korea's Kospi index pared losses after hitting a two-month low earlier in the day thanks to a 2.5 percent rally in Samsung Electronics.