Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Asian markets resume slide; Europe stocks gain

Asian markets resume slide; Europe stocks gain

Asian stock markets dropped sharply Friday as disappointing company forecasts and growing concerns about debt-laden European nations shook investor hopes for a quicker global recovery. European markets opened higher.
Steep falls across Asia followed strong gains the day before, marking a return to heavy selling that's pulled markets worldwide lower in the past week. The dollar continued to strengthen as investors looked for safer bets, pulling down prices for commodities.
Lackluster outlooks from major U.S. technology companies Qualcomm Inc. and Motorola Inc. exacerbated worries that global demand and corporate earnings, after improving in 2009, could prove weaker than expected this year.
Investors are also increasingly unnerved by rising debt levels in European countries like Greece and Portugal _ focusing the market's worries on the huge amounts of government borrowing and its ultimate effects on the financial system. Moody's ratings agency added to fears that have dragged the euro to multi-month lows with a warning that Portugal's credit rating could suffer unless its deficit was reduced.
Mark Tan, fund manager at UOB Asset Management in Singapore, said uncertainty surrounding U.S. bank regulation plans, Chinese lending curbs and other problems were being used as an excuse to book profits after last year's rally. He expected the markets to resume an upward trend soon.
"We believe this correction will be short and sharp," said Tan, who helps manage more than $10 billion in assets. "There's a lot of confusion in the market at the moment. But the liquidity and economic fundamentals are still good, so this is a correction in a relatively positive market."
Early going in the Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.7 percent, Germany's DAX was up 0.8 percent and France's CAC-40 rose 0.7 percent. Wall Street futures pointed to a slightly higher open in the U.S. Friday. S&P futures gained 0.9 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,08.40.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 stock average tumbled 216.25, or 2.1 percent, to 10,198.04. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index slid 234.38, or 1.2 percent, to 20,121.99, and South Korea's Kospi fell 40 points, or 2.4 percent, to 1,602.43.
India's market shed 0.4 percent and Shanghai was down 0.2 percent. Australia's benchmark tumbled 2.2 percent, its resource-heavy market dragged lower by easing commodity prices.
Adding to investors' unease was an initial report, to be released Friday, on U.S. gross domestic product in the fourth quarter. American GDP, a measure of the country's economic output, is expected to rise 4.5 percent.
Global markets have gotten off to a rough start in 2010, with most down sharply for the year. Developing countries have been hit especially hard in the latest downdraft.
China and Indian benchmarks are now off about 9 percent and 7 percent for the year, respectively, as investors scale back their investments in riskier assets like equities in so-called emerging markets.
Overall, investors pulled more money out of developing market investment funds than they put into them during the week ending Jan. 27, according to a survey by EPFR Global, a Boston-based firm that tracks global fund flow data. It was the first time emerging market funds had suffered outflows of money in about 3 months.
Asian tech stocks felt part of the brunt of Friday's selling as sentiment toward the industry continued to sour. South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. lost 3 percent even as it posted a fourth quarter profit. Japanese memory chip maker Elpida tanked 9 percent.
Also slammed were resource companies, with mining giant Rio Tinto down nearly 5 percent as a stronger greenback brought down prices for commodities, which are priced in dollars.
Meanwhile, Toyota Motor Corp. fell another 2 percent. The world's largest automaker is struggling to salvage its safety reputation in the wake of massive recalls in the U.S., Europe and China.
Another bout of selling in the U.S. further weakened sentiment.
The Dow fell 115.70, or 1.1 percent, to 10,120.46. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 12.97, or 1.2 percent, to 1,084.53, while the Nasdaq fell 42.41, or 1.9 percent, to 2,179.00.
In currencies, the euro continued to slide, falling to $1.3967 from $1.3976. The dollar was higher at 90.25 yen from 89.87 yen.
Oil prices lingered near a six-week low below $74, with benchmark crude for March delivery fluctuating before rising 26 cents to $73.90 a barrel. The contract lost 3 cents to settle at $73.64 on Thursday, the lowest since Dec. 14 when crude dropped to $73.46.


Updated : 2021-07-26 10:21 GMT+08:00