新兴市场三星电子(Samsung Elec)击倒了南韩股票; 银行拖累马来西亚-路透社

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
    * Asian stock markets: tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4
    * S. Korean shares log sharpest decline in near three months
    * Malaysian stocks set for third straight day of falls
    * S. Korean won, Indonesian rupiah lead Asia FX lower 

    By Shriya Ramakrishnan
    Jan 18 (Reuters) - South Korean shares fell more than 2% on
Monday, dragged down by steep losses in heavyweight Samsung
Electronics, after its vice chairman was sentenced to two and a
half years in prison over a bribery case, while banking stocks
led Malaysia lower. 
    Losses in South Korea's KOSPI accelerated in
afternoon trade, with the benchmark index sliding as much as
2.7%. The won weakened 0.4%.  
    Shares of Samsung Electronics slipped up to 4%,
its sharpest fall in five months after the local court's ruling,
which will have major ramifications for Jay Y. Lee's leadership
of the tech giant as well as Korea's views toward big
businesses.
    "Samsung Electronics has risen quite sharply recently, and a
major difference from the past is that retail investors' stakes
in the company has risen significantly," said Lee Seung-woo,
analyst at Eugene Investment & Securities.
    "Shares are swinging much sharper compared to past trials
because retail investors seem to be more focused on the idea of
(the government's) pressure on Samsung rather than the
performance and industry outlook."
    Malaysian shares slipped 1%, with the banking sector
accounting for a major chunk of losses as investors bet an
interest rate cut by the central bank on Wednesday could further
pressure lenders' margins.
    Majority of the economists polled by Reuters expect Bank
Negara Malaysia (BNM) to cut its overnight policy rate to a
record low of 1.50%, after surging coronavirus infections led
the government to impose fresh lockdowns, further curbing
economic activity.
    "Unlike most other Asian central banks, which have almost
exhausted their rate policies, BNM still has room to cut the
policy rate further," analysts at ING said in a client note.
    "The earlier the BNM cuts, the better it will be to soften
the blow to the economy from the worsening pandemic."
    The ringgit weakened 0.3%, tracking a drop in crude
prices, one of Malaysia's top export items. 
    Most other Asian currencies also struggled to make headway
as softening U.S. economic data and rising global coronavirus
cases lifted the greenback's safe-haven appeal. The Indian rupee
 and the Indonesian rupiah dipped 0.2% and 0.4%,
respectively.
    Philippine shares pared some of its earlier losses to
trade 0.5% lower, boosted by few blue chip consumer and real
estate stocks.
    The benchmark index fell up to 1.1% in early trade, after
the Philippines extended a ban on travellers from more than 30
countries following the first case of a more contagious COVID-19
variant in the country.
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    ** Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are down 3
basis points at 1.24%
    ** Top losers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kl Index
include Genting Malaysia Bhd down 3.2% at 2.42
ringgit; Genting Bhd down 3.02% at 4.17 ringgit
    ** In the Philippines, top index gainers are Universal
Robina Corp up 1.47% at 158.6 peso, Aboitiz Power Corp
 up 1.15% at 26.35 peso, Ayala Corp up ​ 0.61% at
825 peso
    
    
  Asia stock indexes and                                      
 currencies at   0744 GMT                               
 COUNTRY   FX RIC           FX     FX    INDEX  STOCKS  STOCKS
                       DAILY %  YTD %            DAILY   YTD %
                                                     %  
 Japan                   +0.13  -0.47            -0.97    2.91
 China                   -0.09  +0.63             0.84    3.55
 India                   -0.23  -0.24            -0.81    2.40
 Indonesi                -0.36  -0.14             0.10    6.70
 a                                                      
 Malaysia                -0.32  -0.69            -1.00   -1.01
 Philippi                -0.04  -0.10            -0.48    0.89
 nes                                                    
 S.Korea                 -0.41  -1.60            -2.33    4.89
 Singapor                -0.18  -0.84            -0.70    4.92
 e                                                      
 Taiwan                  +1.73  +1.74            -0.03    5.97
 Thailand                -0.23  -0.43            -0.83    3.95
 


 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Additional
reporting by Jihoon Lee; Editing by Rashmi Aich)
  

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