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Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index declining the most in two weeks, after a Chinese manufacturing gauge dropped more than estimated. The China PMI released today by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics showed a preliminary February reading of 48.3, compared with January’s final figure of 49.5 and the 49.5 median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 17 economists. A number below 50 indicates contraction.
Nikkei 225 14,449.18 -317.35 -2.15%
S&P/ASX 200 5,412.34 +4.10 +0.08%
Shanghai Composite 2,136.97 -5.59 -0.26%
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the nation’s largest lender, slid 2.7 percent as financial companies led losses.
Naver Corp. sank 8.1 percent in Seoul amid concern an expansion at WhatsApp Inc. following its acquisition by Facebook Inc. would curb sales at the South Korean Internet site.
China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. surged 9.6 percent in Hong Kong after Asia’s biggest oil refiner said it’s seeking private investors.
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