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Asian Markets Muddle

Asian markets took a breather in Tuesday's trading, with most markets ending mildly in the red on profit-taking, ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting. Only China and Hong Kong bucked the trend.

In Japan, the Nikkei ended a two-day winning streak, closing down 47 points, or 0.26%, at 16,651, while the Topix ended flat, down 0.72 points, at 1607.21. In Korea, last week's run of gains came to a standstill, with the Kospi falling 10.5 points, or 0.5%, to close at 2052.37.

Indian markets, which staged a rally yesterday to a record high, ended in red territory too. The BSE Sensex slid 194 points, or nearly 1%, to 19,783.

"Markets have rallied so much that most companies are already well past their target prices," says Winner Lee, an associate director at BNP Paribas in Hong Kong. "Hedge funds are relatively quiet because they like to buy into volatility."

Previous session gainers saw mild losses on profit-taking as investors sat on the sidelines for most of the market session.

Korean steelmaker Posco (PKX), which has surged over 12% in the last week, lost 0.3%, to 675,000 won, while Kookmin Bank (KB) slipped 4.13%, to 74,200 won.

Japanese exporters fared similarly. Sony (SNE) lost 1.39%, to 5,640 yen, while Canon (CAJ) shed 1.52%, to 5,800 yen, and Honda fell 0.96%, to 4,200 yen. Nintendo (NTDOY) bucked the trend however, moving up 1.12%, to 71,700 yen after the company said that it would bring the Wii to China and South Korea in the new year.

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