Asian Markets End Lower on US Election Uncertainties

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By Prasanth Aby Thomas | November 5, 2012 9:27 PM EST

A man looks at an electronic board displaying market indices outside a brokerage in Tokyo (Reuters)

Asian markets ended in the red ahead of the US presidential election and the leadership shift in China, despite improved economic indicators from both countries.

Japan's Nikkei ended 0.48 percent or 43.78 points lower at 9007.44 while South Korea's KOSPI dropped 0.55 percent or 10.50 points to 1908.22.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.47 percent or 104.93 points to 22006.40. China's Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.14 percent or 3.02 points to 2114.03.

India's Bombay Stock Exchange traded moderately higher by 0.01 percent or 1.99 points to 18760.80 at 09:54 GMT. 

The uncertainty over the US presidential elections, set to take place this week, weighed heavily on investor sentiments. Reports based on various polls suggest that the contest between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is set to be a close one.

The country's official jobs data, which showed that nonfarm payrolls increased by 171,000 in October beating estimates, raised concerns that the Federal Reserve may abstain from further monetary easing measures.

China's leadership change is also set to take place this week. Although there is no uncertainty over the leadership, investors are waiting to know the new regime's policy decisions.

Markets reacted negatively even after official data showed that the country's service sector purchasing managers index (PMI) had increased to 55.5 in October from 53.7 the previous month. China's manufacturing PMI, released in the previous week had also shown improvement.

News from the eurozone too remained discouraging. Reports suggested that Greece's public and private sector workers plan to go on a strike against the government's proposed austerity measures. The country has to reach a consensus on the issue to secure the much needed bailout package from international lenders.

Major Movers

Electronic stocks were down in Tokyo. Shares of Sharp fell 6.67 percent while those of Panasonic were down 5.60 percent. Sony ended 2.25 percent lower.

Shipping related firm COSCO Pacific and food products manufacturer Tingyi Cayman Islands Holding were the major losers in Hong Kong, dropping 5.01 and 2.39 percent.  

Automobile majors in South Korea ended in the red after a US agency found that the companies had exaggerated claims on mileage. Shares of Hyundai ended 7.21 percent lower while those of its rival Kia were down 6.94 percent.

Metal stocks dropped in China. Shares of Chingqing Iron and Steel Company were down 4.53 percent while those of Aluminum Corp of China were down 0.40 percent.

Pharmaceutical firms Dr Reddy's Laboratories and Cipla gained 1.37 and 0.74 percent in India. 

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