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Asian stocks take a bad hammering as uncertainty takes hold in the market

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Worries over high US interest rates have caused world stock markets to fall sharply, with Asia following the downward trend set by Europe and the US in heavy overnight trading.

The Nikkei fell below the 16,000 mark for the first in eight weeks and shares fell by 2.4% during trading. Japan’s drop was mirrored in Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia and Singapore, which fell by up to 3%.

“The market has been badly rattled and there are many traders here who are hoping we are not seeing the start of something really bad,” said City analyst Colin Perry. “It looks as if everyone is following America’s lead.

“However, my own feeling at the moment is that this is just a periodic blip and that markets will advance cautiously as we go through the remainder of 2006.”

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