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Asian Equities Lower as Italian Turmoil Intensifies

Asian stocks traded lower in afternoon session – Asian stocks traded lower in afternoon session on Tuesday as political turmoil in Italy hurt investor’s risk appetite.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella refused to accept the nomination of a euroskeptic finance minister, prompting the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and far-right League party to give up trying to form an administration. Traders also feared the development might spark fresh debate about a break-up of the region's single currency.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.8% by 1:30PM ET (05:30 GMT). Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is planning to meet U.S. President Donald Trump at the G-7 conference in Quebec on June 8-9, reports on Tuesday suggested, adding that South Korean President Moon Jae-in is considering to travel to Singapore for a three-way summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Trump next month.

Meanwhile, government data showed on Tuesday that the country’s jobless rate held steady at 2.5% in April, in line with expectations and the availability of jobs also remained unchanged.

Automaker Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (T:7201) made headlines after reports revealed the company is cutting production by as much as 20% in North America by autumn.

Japan Display Inc (T:6740) shares dived more than 20% after South Korea media reported that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) had decided to use OLED screens for all new iPhone models starting next year.

Elsewhere, China’s Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component were down 0.5% and 0.3% respectively. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.7%.

Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) made headlines after the company said it is planning to inject part of its online pharmacy business into a listed unit in a deal valued at US$1.35 billion, according to a company statement on Tuesday.

South Korea's KOSPI was down 0.6%. Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said on Tuesday that the government will provide economic support to heavy shipping and shipbuilding companies. "Support will be made on product enhancement efforts for shipbuilding and auto industries in the designated regions, and help will also go to developing tourism infrastructure using local attractions," Kim told other ministers in a policy meeting in Seoul.

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