ASIA MARKETS: Chinese Stocks Fall, Other Asian Markets Mostly Quiet

By Kenan Machado Features Dow Jones Newswires

Hang Seng continues to climb after hitting milestone

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Chinese stocks fell early Thursday on concerns about new regulations, while trading elsewhere in Asia was largely muted.

The Shenzhen Composite fell 0.9% and the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.5% after Beijing took steps to halt the proliferation of small online lenders. Declines in Chinese shares in early trading recently have often been short-lived; the Shanghai Composite has finished higher every day this week.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong stocks rose another 0.5% after the Hang Seng on Wednesday closed above 30,000 for the first time in a decade. Tencent (0700.HK) and big banks and insurers, which have risen sharply this month, helped lead Thursday's gains.

Shane Chanel, an equities and derivatives adviser at ASR Wealth Advisers, said he is on watch for profit-taking after the recent gains in many Asian stock markets. He cautioned that markets could take a hit if U.S. tax-overhaul efforts are derailed.

"Any hiccups to the implementation of Trump's tax reforms...will mean the Grinch will be visiting us this Christmas," he said.

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In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was recently off session lows to trade down 0.1%. A roughly 0.5% decline in the country's major banks more than offset the gains in commodity stocks, which got a boost from the U.S. dollar having its worst session in eight months on Wednesday.

Oil futures were down nearly 0.25% in Asian trading.

Elsewhere, New Zealand's stock index was struggling to move back into positive territory as morning gains were lost midday, while Korea's Kospi was largely flat. Tourist-related stocks like Lotte Tour (032350.SE) and Amorepacific (090430.SE) erased this week's declines as investors continued to assess the impact of fresh sanctions against North Korea.

The Japanese stock market was closed Thursday for a holiday. When trading resumes Friday, it is unlikely to be quiet unless the yen reverses its overnight gains. It hit a two-month high against the dollar and is around Yen111.20. A stronger yen often weighs on Japanese stocks.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 22, 2017 22:23 ET (03:23 GMT)