TOKYO -- Asian equity markets ended Friday lower, as investors lost their nerve after Wall Street stumbled Thursday and amid increasing tension in the Middle East.
In Tokyo, the
closed down 220.3, or 1.4%, at 15,330.3, which reflected a bounce back after hitting a 19-month low at one point during the session. The
index, which includes all shares listed on the
Tokyo Stock Exchange
, fell 13.7, or 1%, to 1440.4, as the latest flare-up between Israelis and Palestinians caused oil prices to surge on fears of a wider conflict in the region.
Shares were lower across the board, but technology stocks once again felt the pain more acutely. Chipmaker
fell 50 yen, or 2.2%, to 2,210 ($20.53),
closed down 100 yen, or 1%, to 10,050 and
fell 70 yen, or 3.1%, to 2,200.
But other sectors weren't immune to the negative sentiment, as
fell 16 yen, or 2.9%, to 535 and
Nippon Telegraph & Telephone
fell 30,000 yen, or 2.8%, to 1.05 million.
The dollar was little changed at 107.63.
Elsewhere, South Korea's stock market dropped more than 5% early on, before trimming those losses near the close. The
index ended down 10.1, or 2%, at 524.6. Hong Kong's
index fell 394.3, or 2.6%, to 14,680.5, as heavyweight
continued its weeklong slide. The telco's shares fell HK$2.75, or 5.2%, to 50.00 ($6.41).
Taiwan's stock market was the region's only exception to the negative trend Friday, but the gains were artificial as the government intervened to prop things up with its $16 billion stabilization fund. The
index rose 71.1, or 1.2%, to 5876.1.