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Asian Markets Close Lower Friday

Shares in Asia closed lower on Friday. Analysts say investors were reacting to declines on Wall Street and weaker than expected corporate earnings reports in Asia.

Taiwan's Taiex index declined by more than two percent this week to end Friday at 5,918.

One analyst says investors were cashing out on gains after the index hit a 17-month high last week.

Sean Darby is an Asian equity analyst with Nomura investment bank in Hong Kong. He says that while markets have reacted to positive economic data from the United States in past weeks, Asian corporate earnings do yet reflect a global recovery.

"The Asian equity markets have probably not seen domestic markets see any significant earning surprises despite what's been very encouraging macro and micro data from the U.S.," he said.

He adds that the weakness in the dollar means company profits could suffer, especially those firms that export to the United States.

This week Tokyo's Nikkei 225 was down more than six percent by Friday's close of 10,335.

Blue-chip stock Sony lost more than four percent in morning trading Friday after the company announced disappointing earnings late Thursday night.

The Sony group's net profit fell by more than 25 percent in the July to September period compared to a year earlier. The company blamed higher corporate income tax payments for the losses.

Korea's Kospi index closed at 748 Friday - down three percent this week.

Mr. Darby says he believes investors are pulling out of South Korea equities on fears the government there might raise interest rates.

"Since the currency is now appreciating, the central bank should be easing into this currency move and that really hasn't happened at all," said Sean Darby. "Clearly the central bank is thinking of raising interest rates, which I think would not be well received by the equity market."

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was also trading lower Friday down about three percent from a week ago.