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Markets

Asian stocks hit after new COVID variant also seen in Hong Kong

Mutation first found in South Africa has investors fearing possible slowdown

All of the Tokyo Stock Exchange's 33 industry sub-indexes were in the red during trading on November 26, 2021. (Photo by Tetsuya Kitayama) 

TOKYO -- Asian equity markets were hit on Friday as concerns began to rise over a new COVID variant that is spreading in South Africa and has been detected as far away as Hong Kong, worrying investors of its impact on the global economy.

Japan's blue-chip Nikkei Stock Average at one point dropped close to 900 points, or 3%, before closing down 2.5% at its lowest level in a month. The broader Topix index fell 2% with all 33 sectors weakening. Shares in heavyweights fell sharply, with SoftBank Group losing 5% and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing declining over 3%.

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