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Asia-Pacific markets drop on Chinese factory data

Kospi

Hang Seng Index fell 1.97 per cent, at 28,724.88 points, Nikkei 225 and Kospi Index each dropped 0.83 per cent, at 28,812.63 points and 3,147.86 points respectively

Below-expectation China factory data and Beijing’s clampdown on Internet companies weighed on investor sentiment and sank Asia-Pacific markets on Friday.

While Singapore shares were not spared from the red, the fall was relatively small. The Straits Times Index was 3.31 points or 0.1 per cent down to wrap up trading at 3,218.27 points. The blue-chip gauge rose 0.76 per cent for the week.

Shares of Raffles Education Corporation, which is deliberating a requisition to convene an extraordinary general meeting to remove executive chairman Chew Hua Seng, gained 21.95 per cent to S$0.20.

The request, by substantial shareholders Oei Hong Leong and his firm, has since been followed up with an open letter dated April 28 from them. Mr Oei has offered to pay for an independent special audit on a share placement that took place in 2017, if his allegation that Mr Chew was the beneficiary owner of the placement shares are found to be untrue.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding’s stellar quarterly earnings did not help the shares from sliding into the red. The counter dropped 2.06 per cent to S$1.43, notwithstanding an almost 90 per cent climb year-on-year (YOY) for its first quarter earnings.

Sembcorp Marine, with a trading volume of 117.8 million shares, emerged as the most active stock. The counter ended 2.33 per cent lower at S$0.21.

Gainers trailed losers 182 to 306 in the broad market, with 1.65 billion securities worth S$1.83 billion transacted.

Elsewhere in Asia, where the impact of the news from China was felt more keenly, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index led the pack with a loss of 1.97 per cent to end at 28,724.88 points. The Shanghai Composite Index was 0.81 per cent lower at 3,446.86 points.

Both Japan’s Nikkei 225 and South Korea’s Kospi Index each dropped 0.83 per cent to end at 28,812.63 points and 3,147.86 points respectively. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index logged a smaller decline of 0.80 per cent to 7,025.82 points.

The FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Composite declined 0.43 per cent to 1,601.65 points at the closing bell.

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