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EMERGING MARKETS-S. Korea, Philippines drop; Asia stocks set for weekly losses as risky bets ebb

    * South Korean shares down over 5% this week
    * Jakarta stocks set for worst week since March, sliding
over 7%
    * Asian stock markets: tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4

    Jan 29 (Reuters) - South Korea and the Philippines slid 3%
on Friday, leading broad losses in Asia's emerging stock markets
after U.S. stock futures tumbled, leaving already unnerved
investors unsure about taking on riskier bets.
    Indonesian shares were headed for their seventh
session of losses and their worst week since March, falling over
7%. Stocks in South Korea and the Philippines are
set to post their fourth straight session of losses. 
    It has been a frenzied week in global equity markets, with
retail investors taking on hedge fund short positions.
    That has spilled over to Asia just as COVID-19 vaccine
rollouts 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, putting
investors on edge as to whether the country's supportive policy
environment could be waning. However, it injected 100 billion
yuan on Friday, easing come of those concerns.
    Stocks in Shanghai reversed early gains to trade
down 1.6%, as U.S. futures fell around 1% by the afternoon.
    "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 in Singapore.
    He added that "some precautionary deleveraging is still
likely warranted" due to higher volatility.
    Strong U.S. earnings reports and a Wall Street rebound
overnight failed to trigger an improvement in sentiment,
boosting demand for the U.S. dollar.
    The region's currencies stuck to tight ranges with the
especially hard-hit won gaining 0.3%. The Indian
rupee and Thai baht edged higher as well.
    Investors in India and Thailand will also be gearing up for
central bank policy meetings next week. 
    The South Korean currency has lost around 1.5% this week,
but stocks have been worse off, falling more than 5% and heading
for their worst week in about four months.
    The country has seen a surge in retail participation in its
stock markets. 
    Broadly, Asia's amateur 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.
    "I think its best to be very cautious into the weekend as
retail gains could trigger more hedge fund pain," Stephen Innes,
the chief global markets strategist at Axi, said in a note.  
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    ** Indonesian 3-year benchmark yields are down 4.9 basis
points at 5.136%
    ** JG Summit Holdings Inc and Aboitiz Power Corp
 led losses in the Philippines 
    ** Asia's 'ant' and 'moth' investors test broker nerves
   
 Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0645 GMT      
 COUNTRY      FX          FX       FX     INDEX    STOCKS   STOCKS
              RIC         DAILY %  YTD %           DAILY %  YTD %
 Japan                    -0.24    -1.17           -1.89    0.80
 China                    -0.14    +1.07           -1.63    -0.72
 India                    +0.12    +0.15           -0.14    -1.31
 Indonesia                +0.14    +0.07           -2.11    -2.10
 Malaysia                 -0.17    -0.77           -0.43    -3.28
 Philippines              +0.05    -0.14           -3.49    -7.38
 S.Korea                  +0.07    -2.91           -3.03    3.58
 Singapore                -0.13    -0.73           -0.52    2.15
 Taiwan                   +1.44    +1.66           -1.80    2.75
 Thailand                 +0.17    -0.03           -0.63    0.68
 
    

 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Christian Schmollinger and Amy Caren Daniel)
  
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