STOCKS NEWS ASIA-Financial shares lead markets lower

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HONG KONG, Nov 5 (Reuters) Asian financial stocks sagged on Monday, extending their decline on worries about the credit market after U.S. financial giant Citigroup said it may suffer up to billion in write-downs for subprime losses.

''That is why the market is very dubious today. Everyone is focusing on what is going to happen to Citigroup tonight (in US trade),'' said Juliana Roadley, market analyst at CommSec in Sydney.

Adding to the gloom were concerns about Pakistan, which is bracing for protests against emergency rule, as well as high oil prices and persistent weakness in the dollar, which was hovering near a record low against the euro.

Those worries overshadowed the crucial US jobs report, which showed payrolls surged in October at twice the expected rate, suggesting the world's biggest economy was strong enough to handle a deep housing slump without falling into recession.

At 0026 GMT, Tokyo's Nikkei average had fallen 0.8 percent while MSCI's measure of other Asia Pacific stocks shed 0.4 percent.

The MSCI index closed 0.7 percent lower last week after losing grip of a record high set on Nov. 1 following a widely expected U.S.

interest rate cut.

South Korea's KOSPI lost 0.7 percent and Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1.1 percent.

Investors continued to give financials a wide berth, sending Japan's top bank Mitsubishi UFJ, Australia's newly listed Macquarie Group and South Korea's Kookmin Bank all down more than 1 percent.

MSCI's index of financial stocks in the region declined 0.7 percent.

Citigroup also said on Sunday its Chairman and Chief Executive Charles Prince has resigned. Robert Rubin, the former US Treasury Secretary, was named chairman and Sir Win Bischoff, who runs Citigroup's European operations, was named acting chief executive.

But investors bought Japan Airlines, pushing the stock up nearly 2 percent, after the Nikkei business daily reported that the airline was expected to post a fivefold jump or more in half-year operating profit.

On Wall Street, stocks eked out a small gain following the jobs data, pushing the blue-chip Dow and technology-laden Nasdaq Composite Index modestly higher.

The US Labor Department said on Friday the world's biggest economy added 166,000 non-farm jobs in October.


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