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Asian Markets Tumble

Asian markets plunged under the weight of a rising yen and uncertainty over the global impacts of the U.S. credit crunch in Monday's trading.

The Hang Seng was the day's biggest faller, shedding 1,117 points, or 3.88%, to 27,665. That's the index's first time closing below the 28,000 benchmark since October 1. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 127 points, or 2.4%, to 5,187, after Beijing raised the reserve ratio requirement for banks on Saturday, and announced a lower-than-expected surplus.

The Nikkei dropped 386 points, or 2.48%, to 15,197, losing all of this year's gains and ending the day in negative territory for the year. In Korea, even the Kospi, which has been popular with value investors this fall, plummeted 67 points, or 3.37%, to 1,923.

"There are ongoing concerns about what's happening in the U.S. about credit concerns. Asian markets have gone up a hell of a lot, and it's good excuse for taking a bit of money out of the markets," says Peter Haimes, chief investment officer of Aberdeen Asset Management in Singapore. "When you look around markets have done spectacularly well, and pockets have got ahead of themselves. China has attracted a huge amount of interest and is probably overdue a correction."

In China, Beijing announced its October surplus was $27.05 billion vs. $23.91 in September, well below analyst expectations of $31 billion.

Monday's biggest fallers were consumer stocks and electronics exporters. In Hong Kong, China Unicom (CHU) plummeted 8.62%, to HK$14.42, while rivals China Netcom (CN) and China Mobile (CHL) dived 4.44%, to HK$20.45 and 7.6%, to HK$129.40, respectively.

In financials, China Life Insurance (LFC) slipped 4.28%, to HK$42.50, while Ping An tumbled 5.75%, to HK$87.60.

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