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Asia: Financials Weigh on Market

Asian stocks sold off heavily in Thursday's trading, with indices suffering their worst collective one-day decline since August, prompted by heavy selling in financials.

China's Shanghai Composite Index plunged 271 points, or 4.85%, to 5330, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng tumbled 948 points, or 3.19%, to 28,760.

In Japan, the Nikkei slipped 325 points, or 2.02%, to 15,771, while the Topix shed 40 points, or 2.5%, to 1516. The Korean Kospi, which has been surging in recent weeks on Chinese bargain hunting, plummeted 63 points, or 3.11%, to 1979.

"On a global basis there's no way in denying it -- multiples look extremely elevated, but also if you're trying to take a long-term view, while all the fundamentals seem right I find it's very hard to buy these stocks," says Jeroen Knol, a fund manager for ABN Amro. "I still have positions [in financials] in China but mainly I've been trimming them on the way with every new high."

Shares in China Life Insurance (LFC) lost 3.93% in Hong Kong, to HK$45.25, while in Shanghai the shares sank 6.5%, to 61.23 yuan. Other financials fared similarly. HSBC Holdings (HBC) lost 1.93%, to HK$142.40, while CITIC Bank lost 5.7%, to HK$5.62.

On other Asian financials, Japanese bank Mitsubishi UFJ (MTU) dived 3.2%, to 966 yen, while Korean Kookmin Bank (KB) slipped 2.34%, to 66,900 won.

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