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Asian Stocks Give up Early Gains to Close Mostly Lower

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks gave up early gains to end mostly lower on Tuesday as Chinese economic data disappointed and uncertainty lingered over U.S. tax policy.

China’s Shanghai Composite index dropped 17.87 points or 0.5 percent to 3,429.97 after a slew of data showed the world’s second-largest economy cooled further last month. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged down 30.06 points or 0.1 percent to 29,152.12.

Chinese industrial production and retail sales growth decelerated in October and property investment also cooled, as measures taken to curb excessive debt and factory pollution weighed on activity, data from the National Bureau of Statistic showed.

Industrial output grew 6.2 percent year-over-year in October, down from the 6.6 percent expansion seen in September.

Retail sales growth eased to 10 percent from 10.3 percent, while fixed asset investment climbed 7.3 percent compared to 7.5 percent increase seen for the nine months ended in September. Bank lending and property investment growth figures also disappointed investors.

Japanese shares closed roughly flat, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index finishing marginally lower at 22,380.01. The broader Topix index dropped 4.62 points or 0.3 percent to 1,778.87.

SoftBank shares fell 1.5 percent after the tech giant said there is a possibility it may not make an investment in ride-hailing service Uber.

Australian shares fell sharply, dragged down by energy stocks after Royal Dutch Shell said it would sell 71.6 million shares in Woodside Petroleum at a 3.5 percent discount to Monday’s closing price.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index shed 53.10 points or 0.9 percent to finish at 5,968.70, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 48.50 points or 0.8 percent at 6,048.70.

Woodside Petroleum shares fell as much as 3.2 percent, and Origin Energy, Santos, Oil Search and Beach Energy lost 1-3 percent. Retailer Harvey Norman declined 1.3 percent and JB Hi-Fi retreated 2.6 percent ahead of Amazon’s formal launch of ‘marketplace’ service in the country.

The country’s big four banks ended down between 0.9 percent and 1.4 percent, while mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto dropped around 1 percent each.

On the economic front, a weekly survey compiled by the ANZ bank and Roy Morgan Research revealed that Australian consumer confidence strengthened during the week ended November 12th to the highest level in seven weeks despite ongoing political uncertainty. Another gauge of business confidence also improved slightly in October.

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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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