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Asian Markets Meander

After Monday's steep plunges, Asian markets suffered from motion sickness Tuesday, with indices moving mostly within tight ranges to end the day mixed.

After falling as much as 2% in mid-morning trading, the Hang Seng clawed its way back to end up 137 points, or 0.5%, at 27,803 on the day, while in China the Shanghai Composite Index lost early gains, finishing down 29 points, or 0.5%, at 5158.

In Japan, the Nikkei continued Monday's fall into negative territory for the year, easing 70 points, or 0.46%, to 15,126.

The trading continues last week's similar trend in the markets, as concerns over a rising yen, higher inflationary pressures in China, and U.S. subprime woes continue to keep Asian bargain hunters from buying aggressively into the dips.

"Stocks have done unbelievably well, and in some of these sectors -- even though they have good companies -- investors are waiting to see what happens," says Jeffrey Lee, chief investment officer of Philip Capital Management in Singapore.

Momentum stocks in Hong Kong refused to respond to yesterday's modest recovery, remaining mostly weaker for the day. China Mobile (CHL) lost 0.39%, to HK$128.90, while Alibaba.com tumbled 3.7%, to HK$27.30.

In financials, China Life Insurance (LFC) rose just 0.94%, to HK$42.90. That stock stands nearly 25% below its high for the year, reached in October.

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