Asian stocks closed mostly lower on Friday with investors taking their lead from Wall Street, where renewed anxiety over terrorism and disappointing economic data weighed on sentiment.
Seoul was the hardest hit with a 2.98 percent fall which was aided by a stronger won and weakness in Tokyo where the benchmark fell 0.30 percent.
However, Taipei and Kuala Lumpur made solid gains after traders in both markets returned to work following an extended Lunar New Year holiday break and caught up with strong regional rises registered earlier in the week.
Shanghai remained closed for holidays.
Taipei share prices closed 0.96 percent higher as market laggards bounced, leading a rally after a long Lunar New Year holiday during which international markets generally did well.
Dealers said investors ignored overnight losses on Wall Street and President Chen Shui-bian's (
The TAIEX rose 62.42 points to 6,594.60, on turnover of NT$108.50 billion (US$3.39 billion).
"Despite profit-taking ... in bellwether electronics, our shares actually outperformed US equities overnight and regional markets this morning," SinoPac Securities (
Tokyo share prices closed down 0.30 percent on Friday as losses on Wall Street sparked a bout of profit-taking following the market's rise to more than five-year highs.
Dealers said sentiment around the region had been hurt by the US market which was dragged lower amid disappointing economic data, lackluster earnings and renewed anxiety about terrorism.
The NIKKEI-225 index lost 50.91 points to 16,659.64, off a low of 16,567.87.
Ryuta Otsuka, a strategist at Toyo Securities, said the market was torn between the negative lead from Wall Street and recent upbeat results from some of Japan's corporate heavyweights.
Seoul share prices closed 2.98 percent lower in a broad-based correction, falling for a third trading day.
Dealers said that Wall Street's overnight downturn led to a weak start, with sentiment further dampened by weak Asian markets, while the won's strength against the dollar triggered profit-taking. The KOSPI index closed down 40.94 points at 1,333.50.
Hong Kong share prices closed sharply lower, shedding 1.67 percent of their value, following Wall Street's falls overnight and on renewed concerns over the outlook for interest rates.
Dealers said Hutchison Whampoa, China Mobile and other blue chips succumbed to profit-taking in heavy trading, while oil stocks traded lower on easier crude prices.
The Hang Seng Index closed down 261.96 points at 15,429.73.
Sydney share prices fell 0.43 percent as investor sentiment slipped in the wake of overnight losses on Wall Street and profit-takers targeted resource stocks.
Dealers said falls reflected regional sentiment where markets also traded lower after US stocks were dragged down by disappointing productivity data, lackluster earnings and renewed anxiety about terrorism.
The benchmark SP/ASX 200 index shed 21.3 points to 4,883.8.
Singapore share prices snapped a six-day rise to close 0.40 percent lower, on profit taking and declines in the US and on other Asian markets.
Dealers said a focus on China-linked stocks on expectations that these shares have further room to rise, limited the magnitude of the decline.