Asian markets resume slide amid mounting US financial woes

November 20th, 2008 - 6:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Tokyo, Nov 20 (DPA) Asian stock markets took heavy losses Thursday, reflecting widespread gloom about US economic troubles and another bad day on Wall Street.Japan’s key Nikkei 225 Stock Average plummeted nearly 7 percent, ending the day below the 8,000 level.

Traders said the sell-off was the result of mounting concern over the US economy, particularly the Big Three automakers’ financial fate.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average tumbled 570.18 points, or 6.89 percent, to close at 7,703.04.

The broader Topix index of all first-section issues also fell 45.15 points, or 5.46 percent, to 782.28.

The Tokyo players dumped mostly export-oriented issues on the stronger yen and on Wall Street’s plunge overnight after the news about US legislators’ reluctance to provide a rescue plan to the three US automakers.

Hong Kong stocks fell 4.04 percent, joining a regional downward spiral in share prices after the heavy overnight losses on Wall Street.

The blue-chip Hang Seng Index closed at 12,298, down 517 points. Turnover was 44.6 billion Hong Kong dollars ($5.75 billion).

At one point, the index fell more than six percent and threatened to close below 12,000; however, it bounced back slightly in later trading to stay above that barrier.

The fall came after the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the United States fell five percent overnight to close below 8,000, triggering falls in regional markets.

Shares also crashed on the Seoul stock exchange on panic selling.

The benchmark Kospi index fell 68.13 points, or 6.7 percent, to close at 948.69.

The main index of the technology-heavy Kosdaq market tumbled 24.35 points to 273.06.

Taiwan stocks shed nearly five percent, with the TAIEX index falling 194.16 points, or 4.53 percent, to close at 4,089.93.

Indonesian stocks dropped 2.15 percent. The Jakarta Composite Index ended at 1,154.97, down 25.39 points.

Dealers said the decline was in line with falls in markets across Asia as well as the drop on Wall Street.

Singapore share prices slid sharply, with the Straits Times Index falling 3.1 per cent, or 51.64 points, to close at 1,613.95.

Thai shares shed 3.59 per cent of their value, with the index crashing below the 400-point psychological barrier.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) index ended at 393.85, down 14.66 points or 3.59 percent, on thin trading amounting to 8.8 billion baht ($255.8 million).

“The biggest factor is still the global economy,” said Mongkol Phuangphaetha, an analyst at Asia Plus Securities.

Philippine share prices plunged 3.45 percent. The 30-share composite of the Philippine Stock Exchange lost 65.85 points to close at 1,842.33 from Wednesday’s finish of 1,908.18.

Steep falls on Wall Street and fears of an impending recession at home dragged Australian stocks down. The ASX 200 gave up 146 points, or 4.3 percent, to 3,206.

The New Zealand stock market followed the international downward trend but escaped with less damage than others, with the benchmark NZX-50 index closing down 2.3 percent.

The index slumped to a four-year low, losing 62 points to 2,644, but suffered all that loss in morning trading and stabilised in the afternoon.

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