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Asian Stocks Down, Follows U.S. Lead After Fed Hints at Imminent Tapering By 

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By Gina Lee – Asia Pacific stocks were mostly down on Thursday morning, following the lead of their U.S. counterparts, after the hinted that asset tapering could begin as soon as this year.

Japan’s was down 0.66% by 10:17 AM ET (2:17 AM GMT), with the at a better-than-expected 33 for August.

South Korea’s fell 0.92%.

In Australia, the was down 0.67%. Employment data released earlier in the day said that the was a better-than-expected 2,200 in July, while the fell to 4.6% for the same month.

Hong Kong’s slid 1.40%.

China’s was down 0.68% while the Shenzhen Component was up 0.44%. Tencent Holdings (OTC:) Ltd. (HK:) said that its quarterly revenue grew at the slowest pace since early 2019, and is bracing for further regulatory tightening.

Elsewhere in the country, China Huarong Asset Management Co. Ltd. (HK:) is set to be recapitalized by government-backed investors.

The , released on Wednesday, said that most officials agreed that the central bank could slowly begin asset tapering later in 2021 thanks to the progress made in reaching its inflation and employment goals to date.

However, the content of the Fed meeting minutes did not take some investors by surprise.

“I don’t think anybody will be surprised if tapering starts at the end of 2021,” Envestnet (NYSE:) co-chief investment officer Dana D’Auria told Bloomberg.

The pace of re-openings is a concern for investors amid the spread of the COVID-19 Delta strain, she added.

Investors now await the Jackson Hole symposium, which will take place next week, for further clues on the timeline for both asset tapering and interest rate hikes.

Meanwhile, will hand down its policy decision later in the day.

In cryptocurrencies, Robinhood Markets Inc (NASDAQ:). cautioned that the revenue uptick fueled by a boom in cryptocurrency trading could be temporary. Robinhood shares fell in extended trading, while was below the $45,000 mark.

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