Asian stocks sink as global economy fears riseBy Kelvin Chan
HONG KONG – Asian stocks sank Monday as investors’ growing concerns about the shaky global economy overpowered any remaining optimism over central bank stimulus efforts.
Crude oil tumbled while the dollar rose against the euro but fell against the Japanese yen.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index dropped 0.7 percent to 9,043.52 and Seoul’s Kospi index shed 0.8 percent to 1.985.57. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.5 percent to 20,636.25 and China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite Index retreated 0.9 percent to 2,008.21.
Sydney’s ASX S&P 200 fell 0.6 percent to 4,380.90. Benchmarks in Taiwan and Singapore also fell.
“Markets face a reality check going into this week,” strategists at Credit Agricole CIB wrote in a research note. They said that the “euphoria emanating” from recent moves by the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank and Bank of Japan to stimulate growth is “fading quickly.”
“The reality of weak growth and underlying structural tensions is coming back to haunt markets.”
Asian markets were partly reacting to some downbeat economic reports released over the weekend. The U.S. Labor Department said that the unemployment rate rose in more than half of states last month, the latest evidence that hiring remains tepid across the world’s biggest economy. The World Trade Organization, meanwhile, cut estimates for global trade growth for this year and next. Both reports came out on Friday after Asian markets closed.
In Tokyo, camera maker Canon Inc. slid 4 percent and global automaker Honda Motor Co. dropped percent. Australian mining giant Rio Tinto Ltd. lost 2.5 percent. Petrochina, China’s biggest oil and gas company, fell 1.6 percent.
On Wall Street Friday, markets were little changed. The Dow lost 0.1 percent to close at 13,579.47 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 fell a minuscule 0.01 percent to 1,460.15. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.1 percent, to 3,179.96.
In currencies, the euro weakened to $1.2942 from $1.2989 in late trading Friday while the dollar fell to 78.06 Japanese yen from 78.15 yen.
U.S. benchmark crude for October delivery was down $1 to $91.89 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 47 cents to settle at $92.89 on Friday.
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