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Asian Markets A Sea of Red

Thursday's bloodbath on Wall Street flowed through Asian markets today, with indices suffering their worst collective decline since September.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng plunged 1,024 points, or 3.25%, to 30,468 points, while in China the Shanghai Composite Index dropped for the third day running, losing 136 points, or 2.31%, to close at 5,777.

In Japan, the Nikkei lost 352 points, or 2.09%, to 15,517, as the Topix fell 35 points, or 2.1%, to 1600. The Korean Kospi also suffered, shedding 44 points, or 2.12%, to 2,019.

"Most investors are afraid of the U.S. markets going down further now, and are also trying to unload their share holdings because the indices are already overvalued at this point," says Castor Pang, a buy-side analyst for Sun Hung Kai Financial in Hong Kong. "Overall investment is very weak at this point."

Chinese financials were some of the worst hit, with China Life Insurance (LFC) losing 3.18%, to HK$50.20 in Hong Kong, and 3.35%, to 70.60 yuan in Shanghai.

Other Hong Kong stocks that gave up recent gains included the telecoms, as China Mobile (CHL) slipped 3.37%, to HK$ 152.20, while China Telecom (CHA) fared similarly, down 3.81%, to HK$6.32, and China Unicom (CHU) dived 4.87%, to HK$17.58.

PetroChina (PTR), which bucked Thursday's bearish trend on a higher oil price, gave up gains to close down 1.51%, to HK$19.60. China Petroleum and Chemical (SNP) gained, by 2.85%, to 28.49 yuan in Shanghai, on yesterday's 10% hike in retail fuel prices by Beijing.

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