HONG KONG, Dec 8 (AFP): Asian stocks closed mostly lower Thursday amid a bout of investor jitters which began with overnight falls on Wall Street and increased with an extended sell-off in Tokyo, dealers said.
Tokyo proved the region's worst performer on the day dropping almost two per cent with investors cashing-up on recent sharp gains.
Hong Kong was also sharply lower amid the prospect of violent outbursts by protestors who are beginning to arrive for next week's World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference.
And the mood proved contagious with Taipei, Sydney, Bangkok and Singapore all losing ground while Wellington and Shanghai managed to close little change. Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Mumbai registered only slight gains.
Dealers added the falls did not necessarily signal the start of a major correction as many markets remian near record or multi-year highs, and the prospect of an end of year rally remained in the offing.
TOKYO: Share prices tumbled 1.95 per cent as investors locked in gains after hitting a series of five-year highs, with weaker-than-expected machinery orders dampening market sentiment.
The Nikkei-225 index fell 301.30 points to 15,183.36.
SEOUL: Share prices closed flat, with the expiry of options and futures contracts and the rate hike by the central bank having only a mild impact on the market.
The KOSPI index closed down 0.55 points to 1,324.20 on volume of 504 million shares worth 5.1 trillion won (4.9 billion dollars).
HONG KONG: Share prices closed 1.69 per cent lower as investors locked in quick profits, with lingering worries over interest rates and fears of violent protests during next week's World Trade Organisation summit.
The Hang Seng Index closed down 255.79 points at 14,879.16. Turnover was 23.67 billion Hong Kong dollars (3.0 billion US dollars).
TAIPEI: Share prices closed 1.27 per cent lower, with the financial sector leading declines on concerns over parliament's attempts to cap interest rates for credit card debt.
The weighted index closed down 80.33 points at 6,249.19 on turnover of 93.39 billion Taiwan dollars (2.79 billion US).
SHANGHAI: Share prices closed little changed, consolidating Wednesday's gains to continue a choppy trading week, with some profit-taking in the steel stocks.
The Shanghai A-share Index lost 1.31 points or 0.11 per cent to 1,154.85 on turnover of 4.64 billion yuan (572 million dollars), while the Shenzhen A-share Index was up 0.40 points at 272.76 on turnover of 3.60 billion yuan.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, which covers A and B-shares listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, fell 1.29 points at 1,098.32.
SYDNEY: Share prices fell sharply amid weakness in the banking and resource sectors on the back of a negative lead from Wall Street.
The SP/ASX 200 index closed down 45.9 points or 0.99 per cent to 4,578.0 with 1.15 billion shares traded worth 3.72 billion dollars (2.77 billion US).
SINGAPORE: Share prices closed 0.26 per cent lower in muted trading amid an absence of fresh local leads, which left investors to follow sentiment elsewhere.
The Straits Times Index fell 6.1 points to 2,305.71. Volume totalled 704 million shares worth 783 million Singapore dollars (466 million US).
KUALA LUMPUR: Share prices closed 0.50 per cent higher, as the key index was boosted by light bargain-hunting by local funds in selected blue chips.
The Composite Index was up 4.44 points to 896.11. Volume was 238.35 million shares, worth 443.71 million ringgit (118 million dollars).
BANGKOK: Share prices closed 0.33 per cent lower on profit taking following two days of sharp gains, which were partially fueled by stronger than expected economic growth.
The Composite Index dropped 2.29 points to 692.50 with turnover of 3.0 billion shares worth 19.0 billion baht (460.3 million dollars) traded.
JAKARTA: Share prices closed 0.60 per cent up, as gains in blue chips continued for a fifth straight trading day but the broader market closed off its highs on profit taking.
The Composite Index closed up 6.954 points at 1,158.319, but off an intra-day high of 1,168.794. Volume was 1.70 billion shares valued at 1.58 trillion rupiah (161.55 million dollars.)
MANILA: Share prices closed 0.48 per cent higher with investors buying into select stocks on the back of a strong peso.
The Composite Index rose 10.18 points to 2,113.60. Volume was 676 million shares worth 1.7 billion pesos (31.4 million dollars).
WELLINGTON: Share prices closed little changed with the negative impact of an increase in interest rates offset by a less hawkish tone from the central bank.
The NZSX-50 gross index rose 2.41 points to 3,229.98 on turnover of 100 million dollars (69.7 million US).
MUMBAI: Share prices closed 0.12 per cent higher with investors focussed on automobile companies on hopes for increased prices and sales in the coming months.
The 30-share Sensex rose 10.50 points to 8,906.31. Volumes touched 33.65 billion rupees (731 million dollars).