Asian Markets Update: Rate Jitters Drag Asia Down - TheStreet

TOKYO -- Investors in Asia dumped large cap tech shares Friday to book profits ahead of the weekend and the upcoming U.S.

Federal Open Market Committee

meeting, sending most regional markets lower.

The near 3.0% drop in the

Nasdaq Composite

also didn't help, especially for Japan's Internet giant


, which has a lot of investments in U.S. tech companies.


Nikkei 225

index fell 142.80 points to 16,963.21, while the


index, which includes all shares listed on the

Tokyo Stock Exchange's

first section, lost 18.03, or 1.1%, to 1557.60. The


small-cap index fell 0.55 to 88.49, while the Nikkei


index lost 2.51 to 1765.71.

Uncertainty over Sunday's parliamentary elections in Japan also kept investors on hold. Despite recent polls suggesting the ruling

Liberal Democratic Party

will win by a landslide, many market participants seem to think it will actually be a close call between the LDP and the

Democratic Party


Internet incubator Softbank fell 950 yen, or 5.2%, to 17,200 ($164.74) after



in which Softbank has a large stake, tumbled 7.8% overnight.

Yahoo! Japan

fell 2 million, or 4.4%, to 43 million. Meanwhile

Morningstar Japan

, controlled by U.S. fund researcher


and Softbank, rose to 8.5 million, after debuting on Nasdaq Japan today with an offering price of 7 million.


(SNE) - Get Report

fell 160, or 1.6%, to 9990,

Matsushita Electric Industrial

(MC) - Get Report

lost 40, or 1.5%, to 2610 and


shed 27, or 2.4%, to 1120. The three firms said they would team up to develop next-generation digital television tuners.

Nissan Motor


climbed 15, or 2.7%, to 566, while

Kirin Beverage

gained 60, or 2.3%, to 2630.

After slipping below a psychological level of 105.00 and to a fresh two-month low of to 104.12 overnight, the greenback climbed slightly to fetch 104.41 yen.

Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

index tumbled 214.28 points, or 1.3%, to 15,738.08 as caution over next week's FOMC meeting collided with low trading volume.

China Unicom

(CHU) - Get Report

fell HK$0.90, or 5.4%, to 15.90 ($2.04), while

China Telecom

(CHL) - Get Report

shed 1.50, or 2.3%, to 64.00.

Internet plays also did poorly, with

falling 0.40, or 6.7%, to 5.55, while

shed 0.02, or 1.6%, to 1.22.

Elsewhere in Asia, Korea's


index fell 3.30 to 778.94, while Taiwan's


index lost 86.84, or 1.0%, to 8684.93.