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EMERGING MARKETS-South Korea, Indonesia down, set for sharp weekly losses as riskier bets ebb

    * South Korean shares down over 4% this week
    * Jakarta stocks set for worst week since March, sliding
nearly 7
    * Asian stock markets: tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4

    By Nikhil Nainan
    Jan 29 (Reuters) - South Korea, Indonesia and Philippine
stocks slid more than 1% on Friday after U.S. futures fell
deeper into the red, leaving already unnerved investors unsure
about taking on riskier bets. 
    Indonesian shares are headed for their seventh
session of losses and their worst week since March, falling
nearly 7%, while stocks in South Korea and the
Philippines will mark a fourth session in the red if
losses hold. 
    It has been a frenzied week in equity markets, with retail
investors taking on hedge fund short positions, and that has
spilled over into Asia just as COVID-19 vaccine rollouts have
run into delays and the global economic recovery looks more
uncertain.
    There were also concerns stemming from China's central bank
draining more cash this week than over the last three, which put
investors on edge as to whether the supportive policy
environment could be waning. It injected 100 billion yuan on
Friday, somewhat easing those concerns.
    Stocks in Shanghai edged 0.2% higher. 
    "Investors should be looking through wild swings in several
speculative U.S. stocks and stay focussed on fundamentals," said
Wei Liang Chang, a macro strategist at DBS Bank.
    But he added that "some precautionary deleveraging is still
likely warranted" amid higher volatility.
    A Wall Street rebound overnight and U.S. economic data that
was not as bad as feared improved risk appetite early in Asian
trading hours, which put the dollar on the back foot. The
region's currencies stuck to tighter ranges with the especially
hard-hit won gaining 0.3%.
     The South Korean currency has lost more than 1% so far this
week, but stocks have been worse off, falling more than 4% so
far and heading for their worst week in about three months.
    Asia's retail investors, emboldened by the meteoric rise of
U.S. videogame retailer GameStop, are taking on short sellers
and making brokers worried enough to cut off margin lending.

    U.S. futures fell around 1% into Asia's afternoon trading
hours. 
    "I think its best to be very cautious into the weekend as
retail gains could trigger more hedge fund pain. With China
tightening it bleeds through all Asia-sensitive risk assets,"
Stephen Innes, the chief global markets strategist at Axi, said
in a note.  
    Investors in India and Thailand will also be gearing up for
central bank policy meetings next week. Barclays expects
policymakers to maintain rates. 
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    ** Indonesian 3-year benchmark yields are down 4.3 basis
points at 5.141%
    ** Manila Electric Co and JG Summit Holdings Inc
 led losses in the Philippines 
    
 Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0346 GMT      
 COUNTRY      FX          FX       FX      INDEX    STOCKS   STOCKS
              RIC         DAILY %  YTD %            DAILY %  YTD %
 Japan                    -0.23    -1.16            -0.18    2.56
 China                    -0.19    +1.02            0.23     1.16
 India                    +0.00    +0.03            0.00     -1.17
 Indonesia                +0.14    +0.07            -1.27    -1.27
 Malaysia                 -0.20    -0.79            -0.34    -3.20
 Philippines              +0.06    -0.13            -1.53    -5.50
 S.Korea                  +0.32    -2.67            -1.75    4.94
 Singapore                -0.16    -0.76            0.20     2.90
 Taiwan                   +1.38    +1.60            -0.13    4.50
 Thailand                 +0.13    -0.07            0.22     1.55
 
 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Christian Schmollinger)
  
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