Stocks tumble

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    South Korea and the Philippines slid 3 percent on Friday, leading broad losses in Asia’s emerging stock markets after US stock futures tumbled, leaving already unnerved investors unsure about taking on riskier bets.

    Indonesian shares were headed for their seventh session of losses and their worst week since March, falling over 7 percent. Stocks in South Korea and the Philippines are set to post their fourth straight session of losses.

    It has been a frenzied week in global equity markets, with retail investors taking on hedge fund short positions.

    That has spilled over to Asia just as COVID-19 vaccine rollouts run into delays and the global economic recovery looks more uncertain.

    There were also concerns stemming from China’s central bank draining more cash this week than over the last three, putting investors on edge as to whether the country’s supportive policy environment could be waning. However, it injected 100 billion yuan on Friday, easing come of those concerns.

    Stocks in Shanghai reversed early gains to trade down 1.6 percent, as US futures fell around 1 percent by the afternoon.

    “Investors should be looking through wild swings in several speculative US stocks and stay focussed on fundamentals,” said Wei Liang Chang, a macro strategist at DBS Bank in Singapore.

    He added that “some precautionary deleveraging is still likely warranted” due to higher volatility.

    Strong US earnings reports and a Wall Street rebound overnight failed to trigger an improvement in sentiment, boosting demand for the US dollar.