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Asian markets ease ahead of US election
by Himanshu Singh on Nov 05, 2012 at 05:30
Asian stock markets fell on Monday as investors continued to shed risk amid uncertainty about the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.1% to 123 as of 10:44 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 0.3% to 9,026. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.2% to 22,067. South Korea's Kospi shed 0.4% to 1,911. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was flat at 4,461.30. Benchmarks in mainland China and Singapore also fell.
There is an atmosphere of uncertainty as the race between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney is virtually tied in opinion polls one day ahead of the election.
According to analysts, Obama's re-election is seen as negative for equities, while markets perceive Romney as stock-friendly.
After the election, the U.S. policymakers face a "fiscal cliff" - up to $600 billion in expiring tax cuts and spending reductions that are set to kick in next year - which threatens to hurt the U.S. economy.
Shares of South Korea's two largest carmakers plunged after the companies admitted overstating their gas mileage on hundreds of thousands of cars sold in the U.S. Hyundai Motor Co., the country's largest carmaker, plummeted 6.7% and second-largest Kia Motors Corp. sank 7.1%.
Meanwhile, an official survey on Saturday showed China’s services sector rebounded in October from a two-year low in September on stronger activity in the construction and retail sectors.
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