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Asian shares down on Cyprus deposit tax
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average retreated 1.9%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 1.4% in late morning trade.
Asian shares fell on Monday in late morning trade, heading for the biggest decline in a month, amid fears an unprecedented levy on bank deposits in Cyprus will push Europe back into crisis.
The MSCI Asia Pacific I5ndex plunged 1.4% to 135 as of 11:04 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average retreated 1.9%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 1.4% and South Korea’s Kospi Index lost 0.4%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 1.6%, while the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.4%.
Equities declined after Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades bowed to demands by euro-area finance ministers to raise €5.8 billion to help fund a bailout by taking a stake in every bank account in the country. Anastasiades postponed a vote on the move in parliament until Monday, a day later than planned, as he seeks more time to convince lawmakers to support him.
In company news, Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest automaker, fell 2.3% as the yen rose against all its major peers.
Esprit Holdings Ltd., a Hong Kong-based clothier that counts Europe as its No. 1 market, fell 1.4%.
BHP Billiton Ltd. lost 2% in Sydney, leading companies lower with earnings closely tied to economic growth.
On the positive side, Panasonic Corp. added 3.5% in Tokyo as the Nikkei newspaper reported the electronics maker may exit the plasma-television market.
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