HONG KONG -- Stocks across Asia were mostly lower on Wednesday after an overnight fall in technology stocks on Wall Street. Markets in Japan were closed and will only reopen on Monday after a series of national holidays.

In Hong Kong, the benchmark

Hang Seng

index fell 240.29 points or 1.5% to 15,577.47, dragged down by index heavyweight

Hutchison Whampoa,


which fell HK$4.00, or 3.5%, to 109.50 after rating company

Standard & Poor's

put it on CreditWatch. S&P's concern is that Hutchison is taking on lots of debt to fund a 4.4 billion-pound sterling, third-generation mobile phone license in the U.K., the bidding for which it won last week. Hutchison parent

Cheung Kong Holdings

fell 0.75, or 0.8%, to 92.00.

Index heavyweight

China Telecom

(CHL) - Get Report

fell 2.00, or 3.2%, to 60.00, while British banking group



fell 0.25 to 86.25. Computer-maker



was down 0.50, or 5.1%, to 9.30. As a measure of how far the company could still fall, it now trades at 233 times earnings.

Cathay Pacific Airways


rose 10 cents, or 0.74%, to 13.60, after it said it bought back more than 1 million shares yesterday for between 13.50 and 14.00.

Amoy Properties


bought back 300,000 shares at 5.60 and closed today unchanged at that price. A list of all company buybacks is issued daily by the exchange at www.sehk.com.hk.

In Australian trading, phone company



fell 2% to A$7.08 after its debt was downgraded on concerns that a $1.5 billion loan to Hong Kong's

Pacific Century CyberWorks

weakens Telstra's finances. PCCW is hoping this week to secure the approval of

Cable & Wireless Plc

for the takeover of the British company's subsidiary,

Cable & Wireless HKT


. Stocks were also hit after the Reserve Bank of Australia raised its overnight cash rate by 25 basis points.


(NWS) - Get Report

lost A$0.40 to 21.90.

The tech-driven

Taiwan Weighted

index fell to its lowest level this year, dropping 218.75 points, or 2.53%, to 8420.00.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

(TSM) - Get Report

fell NT$5.00, or 2.6%, to 188.00. TSMC's competitor,

United Microelectronics Corp.

, fell 5.00, or 4.7%, to 102.00. Also contributing to the fall were renewed reports of military activity by China, which was upset by the election to Taiwan's presidency in March of the pro-independence party's candidate, Chen Shui-bian.

Singapore's benchmark

Straits Times

index fell 21.96 points, or 1%, to 2144.89.

Keppel Land

fell 0.30, or 1.4%, to 2.05,

Jardine Matheson

fell 2%, or $0.80, at $3.96, while

Singapore Airlines

rose S$0.30, or 1.7%, to 17.80.