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Nov. 17, 2011, 3:46 a.m. EST

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By Sarah Turner, MarketWatch

SYDNEY (MarketWatch) — Asian stocks moved off opening losses Thursday, with many indexes finishing in positive territory, though the Hong Kong market ended solidly lower as European debt concerns depressed financials.

South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -1.49%  rose 1.1%, while Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.39%  closed with a 0.2% gain, and the Australian S&P/ASX 200 index /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.33% rose 0.3%.

However, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -1.09%  ended down 0.8%, as futures pointed to losses in European markets ahead of key French and Spanish sovereign-bond auctions later in the day.

The Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/206600939/delayed CN:000001 -0.06%  ended down a more modest 0.2%.

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Turmoil spreads in Europe

Europe's debt troubles spilled over to top-rated nations that had been largely untouched by the crisis-including Austria, the Netherlands, Finland and France-in an ominous sign for European policy makers..

Asia-listed shares had been hit this week by further worries about Europe’s debt crisis expanding to other members of the euro zone, as bond yields for some nations rose.

U.S. stocks dropped sharply on Wednesday after ratings firm Fitch warned of trouble for U.S. banks should Europe’s debt trouble worsen. Read more on U.S. stocks.

“I think that there was an overreaction in the U.S.” said Melbourne-based Austock Stockbroking senior client adviser Michael Heffernan. “Fitch didn’t say there was going to be any direct adverse impact on American banks at this stage, but depending on how things go, it could have implications.”

For Asia, Heffernan said he saw “some pretty attractive valuations out there,” which help spur some of the buying in Japan, Australia and South Korea.

Technology firms were among the notable gainers in much of Asia. Shares of Hynix Semiconductor Inc. rose 3.8% in Seoul after it and U.S. peer Micron Technology Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205710729/composite MU -3.41%  won a price-fixing suit filed against them by Rambus Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208867483/composite RMBS -1.80%  See report on Hynix-Rambus verdict.

TDK Corp. /zigman2/quotes/208948266/delayed JP:6762 -1.22%  jumped 8.8% in Tokyo after signing a supply deal with Western Digital Corp. /zigman2/quotes/204213617/composite WDC -3.01% .

Also in Japan, Sharp Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203224600/delayed JP:6753 -0.54%   /zigman2/quotes/207472799/delayed SHCAF +3.24% rose 3.9%, and Advantest Corp. /zigman2/quotes/206869087/delayed JP:6857 -0.89%   /zigman2/quotes/202479540/delayed ADTTF -9.55% added 3.1%, while Seoul-listed LG Display Co. /zigman2/quotes/204466928/composite LPL -1.42%  finished 3.1% higher.

Resources saw gains as well, with Japanese energy major Inpex Corp. /zigman2/quotes/206689846/delayed JP:1605 -0.23%   /zigman2/quotes/207958170/delayed IPXHY -0.66% , up 1.2%, and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. /zigman2/quotes/201212147/delayed JP:1662 -1.14%   /zigman2/quotes/202925532/delayed JPTXF -1.12% , rising 3.6%, as benchmark Nymex crude-oil futures traded over the key $100-a-barrel mark.

In Australia’s key mining sector, BHP Billiton Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/201448516/delayed AU:BHP -0.78%   /zigman2/quotes/208108397/composite BHP -0.45%  climbed 1.1%, and rival Rio Tinto Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed AU:RIO -0.46%   /zigman2/quotes/202627887/composite RIO +0.79%  rose 0.6%.

“They have been knocked around a lot in the last few days,” said Austock’s Heffernan of BHP and Rio Tinto.

Hong Kong lags behind

Hong Kong took another session of losses, as the European uncertainties kept banks in check.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/201401473/delayed HK:1398 -0.54%   /zigman2/quotes/204265987/delayed IDCBF -2.42%  ended down 1.5%, Bank of China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/204682472/delayed HK:3988 -0.93%   /zigman2/quotes/201568493/delayed BACHY +0.10%  fell 2.6%, China Merchants Bank Co. /zigman2/quotes/209899244/delayed HK:3968 -0.77%   /zigman2/quotes/209895294/delayed CIHHF -1.82%  lost 3.1%, and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/200705246/delayed HK:1288 -0.63%   /zigman2/quotes/209398792/delayed ACGBF +0.93%   dropped 1.7%.

Some Hong Kong-listed property stocks also took sharp falls, with China Resources Land Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202417326/delayed HK:1109 -1.26%   /zigman2/quotes/201656413/delayed CRBJF +5.00% dropping 4.1% and Agile Property Holdings Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/210448079/delayed HK:3383 -0.53%   /zigman2/quotes/200754284/delayed AGPYY -6.91%  falling 2.3%.

First Shanghai Securities chief strategist Linus Yip saw technical factors constraining the broader market, noting the Hang Seng Index approached the 19,000 level but was unable to break through, before closing at 18,817.47.

“I think it’s just a technical fall [for Hong Kong] — the fundamentals haven’t significantly changed,” Yip said.

“The market needs some stimulus to bring the Hang Seng Index back above 19,000,” such as monetary-policy easing in China, he said.

Among other Hong Kong decliners, Europe-exposed Esprit Holdings Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/205943307/delayed HK:330 -1.41%   /zigman2/quotes/209270177/delayed ESHDF -2.78% lost 6.1%. The stock fell sharply in the previous session after it was removed from the MSCI Hong Kong Index, and Thursday’s move brought its month-to-date losses to just under 21%.

/zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed
KR : Korea Exchange
2,162.84
-32.66 -1.49%
Volume: 635,474
Feb. 21, 2020 3:33p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed
JP : Nikkei
23,386.74
-92.41 -0.39%
Volume: 0.00
Feb. 21, 2020 3:15p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed
AU : S&P ASX
7,139.00
-23.50 -0.33%
Volume: 1.07M
Feb. 21, 2020 5:17p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed
HK : Hong Kong Exchange
27,308.81
-300.35 -1.09%
Volume: 1.77M
Feb. 21, 2020 4:08p
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/zigman2/quotes/206600939/delayed
CN : China: Shenzhen
¥ 15.58
-0.01 -0.06%
Volume: 99.51M
Feb. 21, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
11.14
Dividend Yield
1.40%
Market Cap
¥302.34 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥6.12M
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/zigman2/quotes/205710729/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 56.99
-2.01 -3.41%
Volume: 27.05M
Feb. 21, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
18.49
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$63.31 billion
Rev. per Employee
$832,917
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/zigman2/quotes/208867483/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 15.78
-0.29 -1.80%
Volume: 522,400
Feb. 21, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$1.76 billion
Rev. per Employee
$290,454
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/zigman2/quotes/208948266/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 11,310.00
-140.00 -1.22%
Volume: 762,500
Feb. 21, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
15.37
Dividend Yield
1.59%
Market Cap
¥1428.58 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥13.41M
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/zigman2/quotes/204213617/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 66.98
-2.08 -3.01%
Volume: 4.10M
Feb. 21, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
2.99%
Market Cap
$20.02 billion
Rev. per Employee
$270,824
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/zigman2/quotes/203224600/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 1,483.00
-8.00 -0.54%
Volume: 1.50M
Feb. 21, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
15.15
Dividend Yield
1.69%
Market Cap
¥905.88 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥50.23M
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/zigman2/quotes/207472799/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 14.32
+0.45 +3.24%
Volume: 0.00
Feb. 7, 2020 5:19p
P/E Ratio
15.92
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$8.07 billion
Rev. per Employee
$454,670
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/zigman2/quotes/206869087/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 5,560.00
-50.00 -0.89%
Volume: 2.16M
Feb. 21, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
23.18
Dividend Yield
1.35%
Market Cap
¥1102.95 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥64.26M
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/zigman2/quotes/202479540/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 52.00
-5.49 -9.55%
Volume: 0.00
Feb. 12, 2020 5:20p
P/E Ratio
23.60
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$10.32 billion
Rev. per Employee
$581,734
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/zigman2/quotes/204466928/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 6.24
-0.09 -1.42%
Volume: 301,671
Feb. 21, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
0.00%
Market Cap
$4.47 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/206689846/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 1,069.50
-2.50 -0.23%
Volume: 4.30M
Feb. 21, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
9.94
Dividend Yield
3.37%
Market Cap
¥1561.68 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥291.81M
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/zigman2/quotes/207958170/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 9.45
-0.06 -0.66%
Volume: 14,128
Feb. 21, 2020 3:58p
P/E Ratio
9.57
Dividend Yield
1.87%
Market Cap
$13.80 billion
Rev. per Employee
$2.64M
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/zigman2/quotes/201212147/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 2,766.00
-32.00 -1.14%
Volume: 218,000
Feb. 21, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
7.93
Dividend Yield
1.81%
Market Cap
¥158.08 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥156.48M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202925532/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 21.16
-0.24 -1.12%
Volume: 0.00
Dec. 30, 2019 5:19p
P/E Ratio
6.63
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$1.16 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.42M
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/zigman2/quotes/201448516/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 38.22
-0.30 -0.78%
Volume: 4.79M
Feb. 21, 2020 4:10p
P/E Ratio
14.30
Dividend Yield
5.64%
Market Cap
$193.27 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/208108397/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 50.41
-0.23 -0.45%
Volume: 2.10M
Feb. 21, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
14.84
Dividend Yield
5.67%
Market Cap
$74.22 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 97.69
-0.45 -0.46%
Volume: 914,264
Feb. 21, 2020 4:10p
P/E Ratio
8.90
Dividend Yield
9.18%
Market Cap
$158.62 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.14M
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/zigman2/quotes/202627887/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 54.62
+0.43 +0.79%
Volume: 2.57M
Feb. 21, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
6.94
Dividend Yield
6.06%
Market Cap
$68.80 billion
Rev. per Employee
$852,406
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201401473/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 5.52
-0.03 -0.54%
Volume: 197.30M
Feb. 21, 2020 4:08p
P/E Ratio
5.57
Dividend Yield
5.16%
Market Cap
HK$1967.36 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$3.03M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204265987/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 0.69
-0.02 -2.42%
Volume: 26,000
Feb. 21, 2020 10:33a
P/E Ratio
5.49
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$247.45 billion
Rev. per Employee
$387,287
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204682472/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 3.19
-0.03 -0.93%
Volume: 260.67M
Feb. 21, 2020 4:08p
P/E Ratio
4.48
Dividend Yield
6.61%
Market Cap
HK$939.03 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$3.13M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201568493/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 10.19
+0.01 +0.10%
Volume: 59,584
Feb. 21, 2020 3:46p
P/E Ratio
4.57
Dividend Yield
5.45%
Market Cap
$34.08 billion
Rev. per Employee
$399,878
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/zigman2/quotes/209899244/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 38.45
-0.30 -0.77%
Volume: 9.75M
Feb. 21, 2020 4:08p
P/E Ratio
9.40
Dividend Yield
2.78%
Market Cap
HK$969.70 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$3.67M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/209895294/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 4.86
-0.09 -1.82%
Volume: 23,500
Feb. 21, 2020 5:20p
P/E Ratio
9.31
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$122.57 billion
Rev. per Employee
$468,258
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200705246/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 3.17
-0.02 -0.63%
Volume: 116.28M
Feb. 21, 2020 4:08p
P/E Ratio
4.59
Dividend Yield
6.24%
Market Cap
HK$1109.45 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$2.16M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/209398792/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 0.42
+0.0039 +0.93%
Volume: 1,802
Feb. 21, 2020 12:45p
P/E Ratio
4.72
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$145.59 billion
Rev. per Employee
$276,273
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202417326/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 35.15
-0.45 -1.26%
Volume: 11.74M
Feb. 21, 2020 4:08p
P/E Ratio
7.55
Dividend Yield
3.57%
Market Cap
HK$250.65 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$3.68M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201656413/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 4.41
+0.21 +5.00%
Volume: 0.00
Feb. 20, 2020 5:20p
P/E Ratio
7.42
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$31.45 billion
Rev. per Employee
$470,019
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/zigman2/quotes/210448079/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 11.18
-0.06 -0.53%
Volume: 2.34M
Feb. 21, 2020 4:08p
P/E Ratio
4.48
Dividend Yield
9.84%
Market Cap
HK$43.79 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$3.79M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200754284/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 73.06
-5.42 -6.91%
Volume: 0.00
Feb. 14, 2020 5:20p
P/E Ratio
4.60
Dividend Yield
9.46%
Market Cap
$5.62 billion
Rev. per Employee
$483,421
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205943307/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 1.40
-0.02 -1.41%
Volume: 1.88M
Feb. 21, 2020 4:08p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
HK$2.64 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$2.22M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/209270177/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 0.18
-0.0050 -2.78%
Volume: 0.00
Feb. 6, 2020 12:39p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$329.76 million
Rev. per Employee
$282,733
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Sarah Turner is MarketWatch's bureau chief in Sydney.

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