Fri, 07 May 2021

SYDNEY, NSW, Australia - Major falls were recorded on most stock markets across Asia on Monday.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 plummeted 241.37 points or 0.83 percent to 28,812.63.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong dropped 367.34 points or 1.28 percent to close at 28,357.54, while China's Shanghai Composite sank 28.04 points or 0.81 percent to 3,446.86.

The Australian market's slide was softened by a spectacular rise in the earnings of one of Australia's four biggest banks, Westpac, which reported a half-year profit of $3.5 billion, 256 percent ahead of the same period last year. The bank on Monday announced a 58c interim dividend, pushing the shares to a $26.23 close, a gain of 5 percent.

The Australian All Ordinaries dropped 3.90 points or 0.05 percent to 7,286.80.

On foreign exchange markets in Asia, the U.S. dollar was mixed. The euro inched up to 1.2034. The British pound was weak at 1.3828. The Japanese yen was sharply lower at 109.53. The Swiss franc was little changed at 1.2305.

The Canadian dollar edged down to 1.2305. The Australian dollar climbed to 0.7721. The New Zealand dollar was in demand at 0.7172.

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