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

Softbank

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

The

Nikkei 225

index fell 142.80 points to 16,963.21, while the

Topix

index, which includes all shares listed on the

Tokyo Stock Exchange's

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

Jasdaq

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

over-the-counter

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

Yahoo!,

(YHOO)

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

Morningstar

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

Sony

(SNE) - Get Report

fell 160, or 1.6%, to 9990,

Matsushita Electric Industrial

(MC) - Get Report

lost 40, or 1.5%, to 2610 and

Toshiba

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

Nissan Motor

(NSANY)

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

Tom.com

falling 0.40, or 6.7%, to 5.55, while

Hongkong.com

shed 0.02, or 1.6%, to 1.22.

Elsewhere in Asia, Korea's

Kospi

index fell 3.30 to 778.94, while Taiwan's

TWSE

index lost 86.84, or 1.0%, to 8684.93.