China's stocks tumble to near four month low

Chinese shares Image copyright AFP
Image caption Chinese shares led falls across much of the region on Tuesday

Chinese shares tumbled to their biggest loss in almost four months amid a flurry of new share issues, dragging down markets across much of Asia.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite closed down 4.1% to 4,298.71 - its biggest one day decline since 19 January.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 1.3% to 27,755.54 - closing at its lowest in two weeks.

Investors were also selling after hopes receded that China would follow others in the region and cut interest rates.

Disappointing factory activity data on Monday had boosted investor confidence that China may introduce measures to help boost its slowing economy.

Australia cuts rates

Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 closed flat, down just 0.02% at 5,826.50.

The index finished the trading day in negative territory, despite an announcement by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) that it would cut its key interest rate by 25 basis points to an all-time low of 2%, effective from Wednesday.

Rising property prices in Australia's biggest city, Sydney, a strong currency and a drop in iron ore prices were among the reasons for the cut.

The cut is the second this year, following a previous 25 basis point cut in February.

Australia's currency started to fall against the US dollar on the RBA's announcement.

On a brighter note, shares in ANZ, one of Australia's biggest banks, were up as much as 3.9% after the lender posted better-than-expected half yearly results.

The bank posted a cash profit of 3.7bn Australian dollars ($2.9bn;£1.91bn) for the six months ending in March, beating forecasts for a rise of A$3.6bn.

The result marks a 5% rise on cash profits from a year earlier.

Analysts described the numbers as a welcome relief amid a slowing economy and disappointing results from rival Westpac on Monday.

Elsewhere, South Korea's financial markets were closed on Tuesday for the Children's Day holiday.

And Japanese markets are shut for the Golden Week holiday. They will reopen on Thursday.

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