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Stocks

Nikkei Asia300 Index falls as Singapore rig builders, Apple suppliers decline

Keppel, Sembcorp, Samsung among major movers

MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan fell Tuesday, weighed by losses in Singaporean rig builders following a corruption probe. Apple suppliers declined amid concerns over slowing demand for the iPhone X.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index dropped 0.4% to 1,393.74. Singapore's Keppel Corp. dropped 2.4% after its wholly owned U.S. unit agreed to pay a $422 million fine to settle charges following a corruption probe into illicit payments to politicians and officials in Brazil. The subsidiary paid about $55 million in bribes to officials at the Brazilian state-owned oil company Petrobras, U.S. prosecutors said.

Keppel's peer Sembcorp Marine dropped 3.6% and its parent Sembcorp Industries declined 1.3%. Sembcorp Marine is among the companies that did business with people under investigation in Brazil's probe of corruption Petrobras, Reuters reported.

Samsung Electronics, the world's largest memory chipmaker and a supplier to Apple, dropped 3%. SK Hynix, the second-biggest chipmaker, declined 3.5%. The stocks fell following a Bloomberg report over the weekend that analysts lowered their shipment projections for Apple's topline model IPhone X for the first quarter of next year amid signs of lackluster demand during the holiday season. South Korean markets, like most Asian markets, were closed on Monday for Christmas.

Taiwan's Apple suppliers also fell. iPhone assemblers Hon Hai Precision Industry, or Foxconn, and Pegatron declined 1% and 2.5% respectively.

There were not many global cues for Asian investors. The U.S. markets were closed overnight. Hong Kong, Australia, Indonesia, and most European markets remained closed for the second day on Tuesday. U.S. index futures pointed to mild losses on Wall Street when markets open.

In country indexes compiled by Nikkei, South Korea and Taiwan dropped by 0.9% or more. China edged lower by 0.1%, while India added 0.4%.

The Nikkei Asia300 ASEAN Index of Southeast Asian companies lost 0.1%.

--Nimesh Vora

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