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Nikkei Markets

Asian equities fall amid weaker China data, Hong Kong agitation

Tencent Holdings falls after third-quarter profit misses estimates

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan extended losses on Thursday, weighed by disappointing data from China and continuing unrest in Hong Kong.

The Nikkei Asia300 index of companies outside Japan slid 0.3% to 1,308.56. The gauge has lost 2.4% this week, primarily due to losses in Hong Kong equities triggered by the worsening protests in the city. Hong Kong's benchmark equity index closed 0.9% lower.

Hong Kong witnessed another day of protests, prompting schools in the city to be suspended through Sunday. Demonstrators continued to block roads and disrupt train services amid mounting tensions after a protester was shot at and injured by the police on Monday. Foreign students were leaving the city as university campuses emerged battlefields in the fight between protestors and the police.

"Hong Kong remains a pain point for Asia with the domestic chaos escalating in severity," said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG Asia. "(Tumbling Hong Kong equities) may not be a falling knife to catch given the haziness of both the domestic situation and the U.S.-China trade."

The U.S. and China reaching an interim trade deal remained in doubt amid a renewed threat by President Donald Trump earlier this week to raise tariffs on Chinese goods. The Wall Street Journal reported that the trade talks have hit a hurdle over farm purchases, further adding to those doubts.

Meanwhile, China reported Thursday that industrial output increased by 4.7% from a year ago last month, down from 5.8% in September and below the 5.4% gain expected by economists polled by Reuters. Retail sales were up 7.2% year-on-year, below the 7.9% expected.

An index of Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong dropped 0.9%. Chinese social media and mobile gaming major Tencent Holdings fell 2.3% following a 13% decline in third-quarter net profit that missed analysts' expectations. China Life Insurance slid 1% and CNOOC shed 1.2%.

In other movers on the A300 gauge, Hon Hai Precision Industry declined 0.4%. The Taiwanese iPhone assembler said third-quarter net profit increased 23% on-year.

Cathay Pacific Airways slipped 0.8% after the Hong Kong airline reported a 7.1% decrease in total passengers carried during October.

Bloomberry Resorts jumped 3.1% after the Philippine lodging and leisure service provider's third-quarter net profit more than tripled from a year-earlier period.

--Nimesh Vora

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