Turkish stocks down on corruption probe, rate decision eyed
ISTANBUL Dec 17 (Reuters) - Turkish equities fell on Tuesday after media reports said police had detained well-known businessmen and three cabinet ministers' sons as part of a widespread investigation into alleged bribery linked to public tenders.
Shares in state-run lender Halkbank fell more than five percent after sources familiar with the matter said financial police had searched its headquarters in Ankara. The shares were down 4.75 percent by 0855 GMT.
Halkbank officials could not immediately be reached for comment and it was not immediately clear whether the search of its offices were related to the detentions.
"While the details are not disclosed at this stage, the newsflow is likely to dampen the market sentiment until there is clarification of the issue," a note from Finansbank said.
The main stock index was down 2 percent at 73,350 points, well below a 0.19 percent rise in the wider emerging markets index.
The reported raids were the focus of market attention, overshadowing a Turkish central bank decision due at 1200 GMT at which policy makers were expected to keep rates on hold.
Turkish carmaker Tofas also fell as much as 3.8 percent after saying in a stock exchange filing late on Monday that it had received a tax fine.
The lira weakened against the dollar to 2.0386 from 2.0268 late on Monday.
The yield on the 10-year benchmark bond rose to 9.65 percent in thin trade from 9.45 percent on Monday.
Markets are also watching the U.S. Federal Reserve, due to begin its two day meeting on Tuesday to discuss scaling back its $85 billion in monthly bond buying. Opinion is divided on whether it will move this week or wait for January -- or March.
Turkey has depended on cheap foreign capital to finance its large current account. It is feared that this would dry up when the United States begins trimming its stimulus. (Editing by Nick Tattersall and Alister Doyle)
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