Asian shares fall sharply on Wall Street’s historic plunge

September 30th, 2008 - 5:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Tokyo, Sep 30 (DPA) Japanese stocks tumbled more than four percent Tuesday to a three-year low, leading an Asia-Pacific sell-off in reaction to Wall Street’s historic plunge.The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 483.75 points, or 4.12 percent, to close at 11,259.86.

The broader Topix index of all first-section issues fell 40.46 points, or 3.59 percent, to 1,087.41.

After a proposed $700-billion rescue package for Wall Street banks was defeated in the US Congress, the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 7 percent by the close of trading Monday, shedding 777.68 points, its largest point-drop in history.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index followed suit, falling below 17,000 in the first hour of trading. Shares plunged more than 6 percent in the first 10 minutes of trading in response to news of the defeat of the bail-out plan in Washington.

But it recovered ground to close the morning down 433 points, or 2.42 percent, at 17,447.66.

Hong Kong share prices have been in a prolonged decline since last October when they peaked at almost 32,000.

The Taiwan stock market dropped 400 points, nearly 4 percent, after opening at 9 a.m., despite the government unveiling an emergency plan to stabilize the bourse earlier Tuesday.

At one point it plunged 6.5 percent, but closed at 5,719.28, down 210.35 points, or 3.55 percent.

Shares edged down on the Seoul stock exchange. The Kospi fell 8.30 points, or 0.57 percent, to close at 1,448.06.

But the Shanghai and Shenzhen markets bucked the regional trend, with shares ending sharply higher.

The Shanghai Composite gained 3.6 percent to 2,297.50, while the Shenzhen All Share index climbed 3.2 percent to 607.79.

Thai shares lost 2.92 percent of their value by midday. The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) index fell to 583.59 by the midday break in trading, down 17.70 points or 2.92 percent.

Philippine shares closed 1.4 percent lower, down by 37.93 points to close at 2,569.65.

In Australia, stocks slid 4.2 percent, with the ASX200 slipping 206 points, or 4.2 percent, to 4,600.

Shares fell across the board, with resources stocks worst hit because of fears that the crisis will affect the wider economy and crimp global growth.

New Zealand’s stock exchange was the first to open after announcement of the rejection of the US bail-out, with the NZX-50 opening more than 4 percent down.

It recovered slightly, but at the close of trading stood at 3,074, a 113 point, or 3.7 percent, fall.

India’s benchmark Sensex stock index recovered from early losses after market regulator the Securities and Exchange Board of India assured that the US financial crisis will not affect domestic bourses.

The 30-share-sensitive index plunged by 442.20 points soon after opening to a near two-year low of 12,153.33 - a loss of 3.5 percent - amid heavy selling in stocks of banking, metal, realty and IT sectors.

The Sensex later pared its losses and was trading at 12,612.28, up 0.13 percent, at 12:15 p.m. (0645 GMT).

The broader S&P CNX Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange also recovered and was trading at 3,846.10, down 0.10 percent, around the same time.

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