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Hong Kong stocks close 0.52% down

Hong Kong shares ended 0.52 percent lower on Tuesday following losses on Wall Street and owing to profit-taking from the previous day's big gains. The benchmark Hang Seng Index slipped 114.13 points to 21,732.32 on turnover of HK$66.68 billion (US$8.60 billion). The index jumped 1.91 percent on Monday as investors took a preliminary report showing China's manufacturing contracting further in March as possibly pushing Beijing to loosen monetary policy.

Japan shoppers splash out the yen before tax rise

Tokyo resident Reiko Oguma is splashing out the yen in a last-minute buying spree as she and millions of Japanese shoppers brace for the country's first sales tax hike since the late 1990s. Oguma, a forty-something housewife, reckoned there was no time to lose so she shelled out the equivalent of $2,000 for a new refrigerator and clothes ahead of the increase on April 1 -- as fears grow that the hike will take a bite out of consumer spending and derail Japan's nascent economic recovery.

S. Korea launches gold trading platform

SEOUL, March 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's gold trading platform was launched on Monday, the country's bourse operator said, hoping that the unregulated market would become more transparent. Last year, the country's financial authorities unveiled a plan to set up a gold trading platform in line with the government's efforts to bring the underground economy into the open and squeeze taxes out of the market where tax evasion is rampant and illegal transactions are rampant.

Hong Kong stocks close 1.20% higher

Hong Kong stocks jumped 1.20 percent on Friday, following a heavy sell-off in the previous session in response to indications that US interest rates could be hiked early next year. The benchmark Hang Seng Index rose 254.54 points to 21,436.70 on turnover of HK$91.71 billion (US$11.83 billion). The head of the Federal Reserve on Wednesday hinted that US interest rates could be hiked early next year, sooner than analysts had expected. Janet Yellen told a news conference that a rate rise could come "around six months" after the bank's stimulus programme ends.

S. Korea to launch gold trading platform next week

SEOUL, March 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's bourse operator, the Korea Exchange (KRX), said Friday that it will launch a gold trading platform early next week as scheduled, after a three-week trial period. Last year, the country's financial authorities unveiled a plan to set up a gold trading platform in line with the government's efforts to bring the underground economy into the open and squeeze taxes out of the market where tax evasion is rampant and dominated by illegal transactions.

China, other east Asian stocks to reverse trend, gain in 2014

By Rahul Karunakar BANGALORE (Reuters) - Stock markets in China and other parts of east Asia will reverse a downtrend that began last year and rise for the rest of 2014, a Reuters poll showed, driven by attractive valuations and as the global economy gains traction. However, gains are likely to be weaker than expected in previous polls in December.

Shanghai stock exchange says raises shareholding limit for foreign investors

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's main Shanghai Stock Exchange said it has relaxed restrictions for investment by overseas institutional investors, allowing them to invest in more products and raising the limit for their shareholding in listed firms.

Companies shy away from KOSPI listing due to restrictions: FKI

SEOUL, March 19 (Yonhap) -- Companies that can be listed on the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) are shying away from doing so due to excessive restrictions and economic uncertainties, the lobbying group for South Korea's largest businesses claimed Wednesday. According to the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI), only four of the 811 companies that satisfied the requirements to be listed on the country's main bourse did so in 2013. This accounts for 5 percent, down from 3.3 percent tallied for 2010.

Tokyo stocks close down 0.35%

Tokyo stocks closed 0.35 percent lower on Monday after Crimea voted to break away from Ukraine and join Russia in a referendum described by the West as illegal. The Nikkei 225-index, which sank 3.30 percent Friday, gave up 49.99 points to 14,277.67, while the Topix index of all first-section issues fell 0.84 percent, or 9.77 points, to 1,154.93.

Tokyo stocks down 0.44% by break

Tokyo stocks fell 0.44 percent on Monday morning after Crimea voted to break away from Ukraine and join Russia in a referendum described by the West as illegal. The Nikkei 225-index, which sank 3.30 percent Friday, slipped 63.45 points to 14,264.21 by the break, while the Topix index of all first-section issues was down 0.83 percent, or 9.61 points, at 1,155.09.
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