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Asian stocks tumble on US retail sales, bank fears

 Pedestrians are reflected on an electric market board in Tokyo, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009. The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average dropped 335.68 points...

Japan Markets

Pedestrians are reflected on an electric market board in Tokyo, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009. The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average dropped 335.68 points...

Asian stock markets tumbled Thursday, with Hong Kong's benchmark sliding more than 5 percent, on gloomy U.S. holiday sales and renewed concerns about the banking industry.
Every market across Asian suffered steep declines, with broad-based selling hitting industries from energy to financials to exporters. The dollar slid further against the yen, and oil prices continued to fall on worries that the global economic slump will further weaken demand for crude.
Sentiment was pummeled after a U.S. government report showed retail sales dropped 2.7 percent last month, more than double the decline economists had expected and providing alarming evidence that American consumers are slashing their spending.
Meanwhile, a flood of negative news in the financial industry reignited worries that international banks would suffer ever-bigger losses and be forced to raise billions more in capital as the world economy deteriorates.
Deutsche Bank AG, Germany's biggest bank, on Wednesday reported a 4.8 billion euro ($6.4 billion) loss for the fourth quarter, blaming "exceptional market conditions." Analysts said HSBC PLC, Europe's largest bank, may have to raise $20 billion to $30 billion and slash its dividend.
In the U.S., reports surfaced Wednesday that the government was closed to supplying Bank of America Corp., the nation's biggest bank by assets, with billions of dollars more in aid after it agreed to acquire debt-ridden Merrill Lynch & Co.
"Everybody is worried the global recession will hurt bank earnings because of bad debt," said Francis Lun, general manager of Fulbright Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong. "And retail sales are very bad. Things are bad for everybody."
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 stock average fell 348.83 points, or 4.1 percent, to 8,089.62, with sentiment further hurt by new figures showing that Japanese machinery orders, a closely watched indicator of corporate spending, plunged in November.
Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tanked 5.4 percent to 12,967.38, and South Korea's Kospi dived 4.8 percent to 1,126.45. Markets in Australia Singapore and Taiwan fell 3 percent or more.
In financials, HSBC tanked 5. 7 percent in Hong Kong trade to a multiyear low, and South Korea's KB Financial Group Inc. plunged 7 percent.
Falling prices for oil and metals pulled down commodity producers, with Rio Tinto, the world's No. 3 mining company, tanking 9.7 percent in Australia. Major Chinese oil firms, including PetroChina and CNOOC, sank more than 7 percent in Hong Kong.
In Japan, electronics maker Nikon Corp. shed 6.1 percent while Canon Inc. fell 5.6 percent.
The sell-off followed markets in Europe and the U.S., where the Dow Jones index fell 248.42, or 2.9 percent, to 8,200.14, its lowest close since Dec. 1. All 30 stocks that make up the Dow fell. The S&P 500 fell 29.17, or 3.4 percent, to 842.62.
With U.S. futures down, Wall Street was poised to add to its losses. Dow futures were off 61 points, or 0.8 percent, at 8,098 and S&P500 futures fell 7.6 points, or 0.9 percent, to 832.20.
Oil prices lost ground again, with light, sweet crude for February delivery off $1 at $36.28 a barrel in Asian trade. The contract lost 50 cents to settle at $37.28 overnight on demand concerns after a government report showed that crude inventories continued to grow.
In currencies, the dollar weakened to 88.90 yen, down from 89.13, and the euro fell to $1.3162 from $1.3199.


Updated : 2020-12-01 07:58 GMT+08:00