Asian shares slip after Wall Street rout

HONG KONG (AFP) - Asia's markets fell on Friday following hefty plunges on Wall Street as United States technology stocks suffered another sell-off, while China released data showing inflation picked up in March but was still below forecasts.

Tokyo sank 2.31 per cent by the break, Hong Kong lost 0.61 per cent, Shanghai was 0.18 per cent lower, Sydney shed 0.91 per cent and Seoul was down 0.77 per cent.

The Nasdaq suffered another slump on Thursday on lingering fears that high-flying technology stocks like Facebook and Netflix may be overvalued.

The tech-weighed index plunged 3.10 per cent, the biggest single-day percentage point drop since November 2011. The loss wiped out a two-day rally that picked up on Wednesday when the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve policy meeting suggested no support for an early rise in interest rates.

But Thursday's rout spread to other stocks, with New York's two other main indexes also hit. The Dow shed 1.62 per cent and the S&P 500 was down 2.09 per cent.

Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities, said investors were reducing equity exposure across the board and added: "Lower prices were bringing out more sellers." He warned: "The market is on very shaky legs."

On forex markets the dollar bought 101.55 yen early Friday, compared with 101.44 yen late in New York, but down from 101.81 yen in Tokyo earlier Thursday.

The euro slipped to 141.06 yen from 140.88 yen in US trade while buying US$1.3889 against US$1.3888.

In China the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said inflation came in at 2.4 per cent last month, up from 2.0 per cent in February but short of the 2.5 per cent estimated by economists.

While the figure will soothe fears of possible deflation in the world's number two economy it is still well below the government's annual target of 3.5 per cent.

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