Asia stocks fall as delta variant worries take center stage

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SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian stock markets fell Friday as worries surrounding the spread of the delta variant again took center stage.

Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 1% to 27,013.25 and Seoul’s Kospi fell 1.5% to 3,050.48. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong slipped 1.6% to 24,918.36 in afternoon trading.

The Shanghai Composite Index gave up 1.3% to 3,421.81. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.1% at 7,460.90. Benchmarks in Singapore and Indonesia rose, while India’s and New Zealand’s fell.

Traders are watching mounting infections around the world, including in New Zealand, which is in lockdown after reporting its first outbreak in six months.

“With the number of COVID-19 infections on the rise, especially in the U.S., the threat from the delta variant is becoming more apparent spurring cautious risk sentiment,” said Venkateswaran Lavanya of Mizuho Bank.

Wall Street closed out another choppy day of trading on Thursday. The benchmark S&P 500 started…

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