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Most Asian Stocks Fall as Regional Gauge Trims Weekly Advance

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Most Asian stocks fell after the regional benchmark index closed Thursday at a seven-year high.

Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd. dropped 9.2 percent, as retailers led declines in Japan. Alibaba Health Information Technology Ltd., a unit of China’s biggest e-commerce operator, sank 12 percent after Wang Jian resigned as chairman and chief executive officer. Energy companies advanced, with services contractor WorleyParsons Ltd. surging 8.7 percent in Sydney on high volume, with the company saying it’s unaware of any unannounced information.

More than two shares dropped for each that rose on the dollar-denominated MSCI Asia Pacific Index, which slid 0.2 percent to 154.07 as of 6:07 p.m. in Tokyo. The measure closed at its highest level since January 2008 on Thursday, and is poised to end the week 1.1 percent higher. Japan’s Topix index fell 0.7 percent to erase its weekly gain.

“Earnings expectations have already been priced in for the most part,” Juichi Wako, a senior strategist at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Tokyo, said by phone. “In that sense we’re in a state of wait-and-see.”

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 1.2 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index fell 0.3 percent while South Korea’s Kospi index gained 0.2 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 0.3 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index gained 2.2 percent to extend its highest close since March 2008. Singapore’s Straits Times Index retreated 0.2 percent.

E-mini futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 0.2 percent. The underlying gauge slipped 0.1 percent on Thursday in New York as semiconductors declined on SanDisk Corp. results to offset a rally in Netflix Inc.

Investors are weighing economic reports for clues on the timing of the Federal Reserve’s first rate increase since 2006. Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said that while rates will probably rise this year, any decision depends on economic data. Housing starts rose less than forecast in March, while jobless claims increased in the week ended April 11.

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