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Asian Stocks Extend Losses on Libya Turmoil

Asian stocks extended losses on Wednesday, as investors pulled out from riskier assets, with turmoil in Libya driving crude oil prices to 30-month highs and sparking worries of slower global growth.

The Nikkei closed down 0.8 percent or 85.60 points. It lost almost 2 percent on Tuesday. The broader Topix lost 1.0 percent to 946.88.

Shares of blue-chip exporters dropped, with Honda shedding 1.8 percent to 3,525 yen and construction machinery maker Komatsu slipping 1.66 percent, as the yen hovered around two-week highs against the dollar on safe-haven demand amid the Middle East worries.

Seoul shares closed lower as investors continued dumping stocks amid escalating turmoil in Libya.

Falls in transporters continued despite their sharp losses in the previous session, with Korean Air Line shedding 1.8 percent. But shares of oil producers gained, with SK Innovation rising 1.7 percent.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) finished down 0.42 percent.

Australian stocks recouped half their early losses to end down 0.2 percent with hefty demand for top stock BHP Billiton ahead of a share buyback shielding the market from a bigger fall.

In greater China, shares in Hong Kong and Shanghai traded lower. The Hang Seng Index fell weighed down by falls in energy stocks PetroChina, CNOOC and Sinopec.

The FTSE CNBC 100 Index dipped 0.1 percent.