Asian markets dive on global banking fears
AFP Tuesday, March 3, 2009, 11:27 am TWN
HONG KONG -- Asian markets tumbled Monday, taking their cue from Wall Street's fall to near 12-year lows, as fears deepened over the ravaging effects of the global financial crisis and the plight of major banks.
Tokyo stocks sank 3.81 percent as diving Japanese automobile sales added to worries about the recession in Asia's largest economy, which is being battered by a slump in exports.
"The Tokyo market is being hit directly by the lower share prices overseas," said Toshihiko Matsuno, research head at SMBC Friend Securities.
The market in New York Friday reacted to news of a worse-than-expected 6.2 percent contraction in the U.S. economy in the fourth quarter.
Banking fears were exacerbated by HSBC announcing a rights issue amid a 70 percent slump in net profit and after the U.S. government said Friday it would increase its stake in ailing Citigroup to 36 percent.
The news helped push Hong Kong stocks 3.9 percent lower. "HSBC's massive rights issue makes the Hong Kong market feel the credit crisis is lapping closer to our shores, which really hurts sentiment," Y.K. Chan, a strategist at Phillip Capital Management, told Dow Jones Newswires.
Australian share prices tumbled 2.8 percent to a five-year low on falls in the banking and mining sectors. South Korean shares closed down 4.2 percent. Chinese shares climbed 0.51 percent on government stimulus hopes.
TOKYO: Down 3.81 percent. The Nikkei-225 dropped 288.27 points to end at 7,280.15. Financial issues were dragged down by the losses among their U.S. peers. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial fell 6.8 percent to 423 yen and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial declined 5.7 percent to 2,990 yen.
HONG KONG: Down 3.9 percent. The benchmark Hang Seng Index dropped 494.11 points to 12,317.46 Analysts said they expect the local market to fall further in the near term because of continuing concerns about the global economy.
SYDNEY: Down 2.8 percent. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index slumped 94.4 points to 3,250.1, its lowest level since December 19, 2003.
SHANGHAI: Up 0.51 percent. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, which covers A and B shares, rose 10.60 points to 2,093.45.
SEOUL: Down 4.2 percent. The KOSPI index ended down 44.22 points at 1,018.81, the lowest closing since December 4.
SINGAPORE: Down 3.85 percent. The blue-chip Straits Times Index (STI) fell 61.47 points to 1,533.40.
KUALA LUMPUR: Down 1.6 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index lost 14.11 points to 876.56.
BANGKOK: Down 3.48 percent. The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) composite index lost 15.00 points to close at 416.52.
JAKARTA: Down 2.3 percent. The Jakarta Composite Index lost 29.37 points to 1,256.11.
MANILA: Down 0.8 percent. The composite index shed 16.79 points to 1,856.43.
MUMBAI: Down 3.2 percent. The benchmark 30-share Sensex index slid 284.53 points to 8,607.08.
WELLINGTON: Down 1.62 percent. The benchmark NZX-50 index closed 40.80 points down at 2,481.515.
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