Warning on stocks hits mainland, HK

Updated: 2007-05-15 20:15

HONG KONG _ Most Asian markets fell Tuesday, as Japanese stocks were dragged down by worse-than-expected machinery order data, while warnings from Chinese regulators against speculative trading triggered losses in the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong.

Philippine shares, however, surged to their highest level in 10 years, inspired by relatively smooth midterm elections.

In Tokyo, the benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index fell 164.96 points, or 0.93 percent, to finish at 17,512.98 points.

Losers included machinery makers Okuma Ltd., which fell 4.06 percent to 1,559 yen (US$12.99), and Fanuc, which lost 0.97 percent to 11,200 yen (US$93.33).

Japanese core machinery orders in March fell 4.5 percent on month for a second straight month as firms predicted gloomier performance ahead, raising concerns that lower capital spending could dampen economic growth.

"Machinery numbers are affecting us on an intraday basis, but overall there is very little directional trend for this market," said Stefan Rheinwald, strategist at CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets in Tokyo.

In Hong Kong, shares retreated from a record high in the previous session, dragged down by profit taking in blue chips and lingering worries of economic tightening measures in China.

The blue chip Hang Seng Index fell 111.09 points, or 0.53 percent, to 20,868.15.

Traders said the index was taking a breather after hitting a record close of 20,979 Monday. But the index is still on an upward trend, they said, due to abundant liquidity and an expected influx of funds from China's expanded overseas investment program.

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