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Pullback in Asian stock markets 'may present buying opportunity'

PROTESTS in China have caused a pullback in some Asian stock markets, but the executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group has identified the decline as a buying opportunity.

Mark Mobius said: "We look on it as a buying opportunity rather than a sell opportunity. If prices go down low enough, they will probably hit our buy limits,'' he said. Templeton has no plans to scale back its operations in Hong Kong, and is more likely to expand them instead.

It is watching closely how the protests may affect China's leadership.

"If the government can be seen to be fair and clean, if it moves the party towards a faster implementation of (reforms), there may be a big impact on the stock market," he said.

The firm manages about US$40 billion in emerging assets, and is exposed to state-owned companies such as PetroChina.

"What happens in Hong Kong will have a big implication on the rest of China and on Asia,'' he said.