* Regulator investigates Mobius, possible mkt manipulation
* Asks for information on market correction comments
* No suggestion of impropriety by Mobius -Templeton
* Fully co-operating with regulator -Templeton
* Inflows into Turkey will remain robust -managers
(Adds details, background, fund manager comments)
By Raji Menon and Cecilia Valente
LONDON, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Franklin Templeton confirmed on Friday the Turkish regulator has requested information on comments by emerging markets fund manager Mark Mobius, which were blamed for driving a slump in Turkish stocks two weeks ago.
Last week, senior officials at Turkey’s capital markets watchdog (SPK) told Reuters they had launched an investigation into possible market manipulation after Mobius -- who heads fund manager Franklin Templeton’s emerging markets group -- predicted a possible major market correction. [ID:nLDE6A01BS]
In a statement, Templeton said: ”We can confirm that we have been contacted by the Capital Markets Board regarding a preliminary request for information related to certain statements reportedly made by Dr. Mobius on October 26.
“We are co-operating fully with the regulator. We do not have any information that suggests impropriety by Dr. Mobius.”
The Istanbul Stock Exchange dropped 3 percent after Mobius, who has around $1 billion invested in Turkey, said Turkish stocks might fall 15 to 20 percent by year-end. [ID:nANK003057]
Turkey has been one of the best-performing emerging markets in 2010 with stocks .XU100 rising by 33 percent, more than double the gains seen in India, Russia and Eastern Europe.
Some analysts are concerned that foreign fund managers could pull out of Turkey, unnerved by an overzealous regulator.
“There have been some worries among investors about [the impact of this investigation] on Turkey,” said one analyst who declined to be named.
But foreign fund managers told Reuters inflows would be unaffected and Turkey was an attractive investment opportunity.
“Mark Mobius is seen as a guru in the emerging markets universe. If people react the way they do [to his comments], it is not his fault,” Doris Stadler, manager of the ESPA Stock Istanbul fund, said.
A fund manager at a large international fund house, said on condition of anonymity: "I doubt this investigation will affect the trend in Turkish stocks. We are still seeing very strong inflows." (Additional reporting by Orhan Coskun and Alexandra Hudson in Istanbul; Editing by Joel Dimmock, Sinead Cruise and David Hulmes) (For the Hedge Hub blog: blogs.reuters.com/hedgehub) (For Global Investing: here))