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Asian stocks track US lower on renewed Fed fears

November 8, 2013

HONG KONG (AP) — Asian stocks tracked losses in the U.S. on renewed concern the Federal Reserve will start scaling back stimulus earlier than expected after a report showed that the U.S. economy grew faster than predicted.

Investors in Asia were also hanging back on Friday ahead of a weekend meeting in Beijing where China’s communist leaders are expected to lay out their long-term plan for the world’s No. 2 economy.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 sank 0.9 percent to 14,104.73 while Seoul’s Kospi dropped 0.5 percent to 1993.23. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slid 0.6 percent at 22,757.14 while in mainland China the Shanghai Composite fell 0.5 percent to 2,117.87.

Australia’s S&P ASX 200 fell 0.7 percent to 5,396.90. Benchmarks in Singapore and Taiwan also fell.

Asian stocks followed Wall Street lower after the release of quarterly U.S. economic data that showed the U.S. economy grew 2.8 percent in the third quarter, nearly a percentage point faster than economists had predicted. That led many investors to believe the Fed would start pulling back, or tapering, its bond buying program, with some predicting it could happen as early as December. The Fed is buying $85 billion in bonds every month to hold down interest rates to spur hiring and borrowing.

The Dow fell 0.1 percent to close at 15,727 while the broader S&P 500 shed 0.4 percent to 1,764. The Nasdaq composite fell 1.9 percent to 3,857.33.

Investors were also staying cautious as they await details from the four-day meeting in Beijing starting Saturday. Many expect the meeting produce a wave of reforms aimed at helping the world’s No. 2 economy shift to healthier growth driven by domestic consumption and technology.

In currencies, the edged up to $1.3409 from $1.3406 in late trading Thursday. The dollar rose to 98.23 Japanese yen from 98.20 yen.

In energy trading, benchmark crude for December delivery rose 26 cents to $94.46 in electronic trading at the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 60 cents to close at $94.20 a barrel on Thursday.

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