Asian markets fall, led by Hang Seng’s slide

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Asian markets mostly fell Thursday, following losses on Wall Street and turmoil in Hong Kong.

Stocks initially fell sharply in Hong Kong after protesters and police clashed throughout the previous day and night. At least 79 people were injured, Hong Kong officials said. Demonstrators were protesting a potential new extradition law with China, which they fear would erode civil liberties. Crowds of protesters on Wednesday blocked lawmakers from meeting to debate the law. Thursday began quietly, as downtown streets reopened heavy rain fell and discouraged crowds in the former British colony.

But Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index recovered from a slide of more than 1.5%, finishing flat. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite also finished unchanged. Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.5% and South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.3%. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan and Indonesia were lower, while Singapore stocks rose. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished flat.

Among individual stocks, Japan Display plunged in Tokyo trading after i ts CEO announced he will step down amid additional restructuring measures. Nintendo and oil producer Inpex also fell. In Hong Kong, Tencent and property companies, such as Hang Lung Properties , retreated. Samsung tumbled in South Korea, and Taiwan Semiconductor declined in Taiwan. Beach Energy and Oil Search sank in Australia.