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EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks slide, currencies muted as investors eye U.S. Senate race

    * U.S. stock futures fall, pressure Asian equities
    * Philippines stocks drop almost 3%
    * China Dec services sector expands at a slower pace 
    * Asian currencies largely flat

    By Anushka Trivedi
    Jan 6 (Reuters) - Philippine stocks led losses in Asian
equity markets on Wednesday, while currencies traded flat as
broader sentiment wavered on weak China data and uncertainty in
the high-stakes U.S. Senate election in Georgia.    
    South Korea's KOSPI, however, smashed past the 3,000
level for the first time in early morning trade before giving
back gains to fall 0.2%.
    Manila stocks plunged almost 3% and were set for
their worst day since August, while Malaysia and
Indonesia shares slipped 1% and 0.8%, respectively,
after U.S. stock futures turned negative as the vote count in
Georgia hinted at a tight race.
    The outcome of the runoff vote to elect two senators will
determine control of the chamber and have an impact on incoming
President Joe Biden's economic policies, although a final result
is not expected at least before Wednesday morning in the United
States.
    "Market sentiment across Asia-Pacific turned sour as races
in the Georgia runoff election are tight, creating much
political uncertainty," said DailyFX strategist Margaret Yang.
    "Fiscal stimulus and infrastructure spending are on top of
the Democrats' agenda, which in turn will likely influence the
dollar and bring a cascading effect on the broader asset
classes." 
    Asian stocks were also hit by the region's top trade partner
China posting a slow uptick in services sector activity in
December as sporadic coronavirus outbreaks weighed on business
growth, a private sector survey showed.
    China, which has powered the region's economic recovery
since July, saw its shares fall 0.2%, while the yuan
 dropped 0.1%.
    Most Asian currencies were tepid despite a weak greenback as
uncertainty over the U.S. Senate election and its implications
for the U.S. dollar unnerved investors. 
   Singapore dollar, the Philippine peso were
flat, while the Indonesian rupiah ticked up 0.1%.
    However, losses in Asian currencies were capped as improving
fundamentals in the region and an ultra-low interest rate
environment kept them attractive, Yang added.

HIGHLIGHTS
    
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are up 3.1 basis
points at 6.029%
    ** In the Philippines, top index losers are GT Capital
Holdings Inc, down 6.1%, and DMCI Holdings Inc
, down 4.4%
    ** Taiwan's dollar defies trend, firms 1.5%

  Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0450 GMT                                           
 COUNTRY         FX RIC       FX DAILY %  FX YTD %      INDEX  STOCKS DAILY %   STOCKS YTD
                                                                                         %
 Japan                             -0.09     +0.42                      -0.26        -1.30
 China                             -0.02     +1.11                      -0.17         1.43
 India                             +0.05     -0.10                       0.01         1.57
 Indonesia                         +0.07     +1.08                      -0.80         1.83
 Malaysia                          +0.10     +0.25                      -0.77        -1.92
 Philippines                       +0.00     -0.08                      -1.66        -1.73
 S.Korea                           +0.10     -0.03                      -0.13         3.94
 Singapore                         -0.06     +0.19                      -0.21         0.35
 Taiwan                            +1.53     +1.82                      -0.06         1.75
 Thailand                          +0.07     +0.13                      -0.25         3.69
 
 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Kenneth
Maxwell)
  
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