HONG KONG - Asian stocks tumbled Thursday with Shanghai sliding over six percent following Wall Street losses triggered by fresh jitters about soaring oil prices and the global credit crunch.
Investors were nervous about signs of growing inflationary pressures in the world's major economies, which are still struggling to overcome a US housing slump and related credit squeeze.
Shanghai was the worst hit with a loss of 6.5 percent as investors rushed to sell amid fears of a further deep correction.
Tokyo lost 2.2 percent, Hong Kong fell 2.3 percent, Sydney gave up 1.4 percent, Taipei dropped 2.1 percent and Seoul shed 1.9 percent. Mumbai tumbled more than two percent and Bangkok slid just over three percent.
Analysts said investors were worried about the gloomy outlook hanging over China and other regional markets. Malaysia, down more than one percent, and Thailand are also grappling with domestic political uncertainty.
Investors were spooked by losses on Wall Street Wednesday, when rising oil prices and weak corporate earnings news hit confidence, dealers said.
They said investors were worried that the fallout from the US financial crisis might drag on for longer than previously thought.
Wall Street's Dow Jones index slid 1.08 percent Wednesday.
Adding to concerns, oil prices jumped to 137 dollars a barrel on Thursday, within reach of record highs, after another militant attack slashed output in Nigeria, Africa's biggest crude producer.
The rise came ahead of a key weekend meeting in Saudi Arabia between oil producing and consuming nations.
TOKYO: Japanese share prices slumped more than two percent, dragged down by losses on Wall Street, where rising oil prices and weak corporate earnings news hit confidence, dealers said.
The benchmark Nikkei-225 index dropped 322.65 points or 2.23 percent to end at 14,130.17. The broader Topix index of all first-section shares lost 34.04 points or 2.41 percent to 1,375.60.
"We saw some nasty earnings coming out of the US... and how the general economic environment is weighing on companies," a trader told Dow Jones Newswires. "That's likely to affect sentiment here in Japan and the rest of Asia."
"The Nikkei may drop below the 14,000-mark if the Dow closes below the psychologically-key level of 12,000," said Yumi Nishimura, market analyst at Daiwa Securities SMBC.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial fell 3.6 percent to 1,038 yen, Mizuho Financial gave up 3.7 percent to 549,000 yen and Nomura Holdings shed 4.0 percent to 1,700 yen.
Toyota Motor declined 3.2 percent to 5,490 yen and Sony fell 2.6 percent to 5,220 yen. Sanyo Electric climbed 3.3 percent to 280 yen on reports that the company will boost its production of rechargeable batteries.
HONG KONG: Hong Kong share prices closed down 2.26 percent, dealers said.
The Hang Seng index closed down 528.19 points at 22,797.61. Turnover was 59.04 billion Hong Kong dollars (7.57 billion US).
"The Hong Kong market could fall further in coming sessions if US shares don't recover," Conita Hung, head of equity markets at Delta Asia Financial, told Dow Jones Newswires.
China Resources fell 4.95 percent. Sino Land fell 4.7 percent to 16.52 dollars, Sun Hung Kai Properties slid 2.6 percent to 115.30 dollars, and Cheung Kong fell one percent to 114 dollars.
Sinopec fell four percent to 7.99 dollars. PetroChina fell 3.4 percent to 10.3 dollars. Cathay Pacific was down 1.69 percent on worries about the high oil price.
SYDNEY: Australian share prices closed down 1.4 percent, dealers said.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index fell 76.6 points to 5,366.6 while the broader All Ordinaries dropped 66 points to 5,484.3.
A total of 2.35 billion shares worth 9.9 billion dollars (9.4 billion US dollars) were traded.
"We had some pretty weak leads from Wall Street and that's where the major moves come from, basically," said CMC Markets senior dealer James Foulsham. "Most of the negative sentiment was in the financial sector."
Among banks, ANZ lost 83 cents to 18.68 dollars. Miner BHP Billiton shed 33 cents to 44.99 and its takeover target Rio Tinto lost 1.32 to 138.83.
High oil prices saw Oil Search up 12 cents at 6.28, Santos 54 cents higher at 21.75 and Woodside up 1.75 at 65.50.
SHANGHAI: Chinese share prices plummeted more than 6.5 percent, dealers said.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, which covers A and B shares, closed down 192.24 points or 6.54 percent at 2,748.87 on turnover of 59.6 billion yuan (8.6 billion dollars).
A sharp rise Wednesday was "probably too rapid for the market's own good," Capital Securities strategist Amy Lin told Dow Jones Newswires.
"When oil prices are still high and inflation worries still intense, the faster stocks rise, the more likely they will fall rapidly too."
The key index has lost around 20 percent so far in June, and analysts expect it to keep diving and soon test 2,500 points.
"Confidence in the market is still nonexistent and even institutional investors have become so short-term minded," said Chen Huiqin, an analyst at Huatai Securities.
The Shanghai A-share Index lost 6.53 percent at 2,883.89. The Shenzhen A-share Index was down 7.48 percent at 817.07.
China Petroleum Chemical Corp (Sinopec) shed 3.38 percent to 12.57 yuan. PetroChina was down 5.72 percent at 15.17. Baoshan Iron Steel tumbled by the 10 percent daily limit to 9.83 yuan.
CITIC Securities fell 10 percent to 23.64. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China shed 5.29 percent to 5.01.
China Vanke lost 10 percent to 9.24. China Eastern Airlines was down 10 percent to 6.54.
TAIPEI: Taiwan shares closed down 2.07 percent, dealers said.
The key stock market index shed 169.84 points down to 8,047.74.
"There's no news in the region. Asian markets are all tracking the US, which is plagued by concerns over inflation and a slowing economy," said Bill Huang at KGI Securities.
AU Optronics fell 1.92 percent to 51.00 Taiwan dollars. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. dropped 1.1 percent to 64.80.
High Tech Computer ended down 3.1 percent at 724. United Microelectronics Corp lost two percent to 16.70.
SEOUL: South Korean shares fell sharply to close 1.9 percent lower, dealers said.
The KOSPI index ended down 33.41 points at 1,740.72. Volume was 396 million shares worth 4.6 trillion won (4.48 billion dollars).
Investors seemed to have grown impatient as oil prices turned unsteady and failed to allay inflation fears, said Lim Jung-hyun, an analyst at Bookook Securities.
"Amid such uncertainty, foreign investors' risk aversion appears to be resurfacing," Lim said.
Kookmin Bank dropped 2.7 percent to 61,800 won. Korean Air Lines lost 1.9 percent to 52,300 won. Samsung Electronics slumped 4.1 percent to 675,000 won.
SINGAPORE: Singapore shares closed 1.56 percent lower, dealers said.
The blue-chip Straits Times Index ended 47.43 points lower, closing below the psychologically important 3,000 points level at 2,992.66.
Volume totalled a thin 1.08 billion shares worth 1.28 billion dollars (878 million US).
The broad market selldown may provide a good chance to pick up stocks, with a fall to the 2,950 level offering "good trading opportunities," said AmFraser Securities senior vice president of research Najeeb Jarhom.
DBS Group fell 30 cents to 19.24 Singapore dollars. City Developments down 38 cents at 10.28.
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian share prices closed 1.3 percent lower, dealers said.
The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index dropped 16.2 points to 1,196.39. Thursday's close was the lowest since March 21.
"Before investors have had a chance to get over the concerns about inflation and a slowdown in economic growth, more pressure has been heaped on the market by the political situation," a trader told Dow Jones Newswires.
Gamuda fell 6.5 percent to end at 2.29 ringgit. Conglomerate Genting lost 1.9 percent to 5.20.
BANGKOK: Thai shares closed 3.04 percent lower, dealers said.
Protesters vowed to escalate their attack on the Thai government, heightening an already tense political situation.
Dealers said rising inflation and volatile oil prices added to the negative sentiment.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) composite index lost 23.28 points to close at 742.46, while the blue-chip SET 50 index fell 17.46 points to 528.58.
Kiatnakin Securities senior vice president Viriya Lappromrattana said the index plummeted on Thursday due mainly to rising tensions in domestic politics.
"Investors are increasingly worried about the current situation in Thai politics, especially with the protests set to grow tomorrow. Rumours keep coming and worsen the market sentiment," Viriya said.
An anti-government group has been blockading a key intersection in Bangkok's historic district since May 25, and protest leaders have called for thousands more to join their rally on Friday.
The protesters announced have threatened to surround the prime minister's office on Friday, prompting a government spokesman to brand them "coup-makers."
PTT lost 10.00 baht to close at 292.00. Bangkok Bank slumped 5.00 to 111.00.
Thai Airways International lost 0.70 to 21.10.
JAKARTA: Indonesian shares closed 0.4 percent higher, dealers said.
The Jakarta Composite Index gained 8.48 points to 2,373.06.
"Overall sentiment, however, remains cautious amid lingering concerns over high oil prices and inflation," a trader told Dow Jones Newswires.
Coal miner Bumi Resources gained 4.4 percent at 8,400 rupiah. Palm oil producer Astra Agro rose 6.5 percent at 28,050 on lofty commodity prices.
MANILA: Philippine share prices closed 1.4 percent lower, dealers said.
The composite index lost 35.61 points to 2,592.59, after trading between 2,584.09 and 2,613.07. The all-share index dropped 22.19 points to 1,636.29.
Decliners swamped advancers 101 to 13, with 35 issues ending unchanged.
Turnover rose to 2.6 billion pesos (58.7 million dollars) from 1.93 billion pesos on Wednesday.
The peso traded at an average of 44.3 to the dollar.
"Inflation concerns (have) massacred the market, and I don't think we've seen the last of it," Lawrence de Leon of Accord Capital Equities told Dow Jones Newswires.
He put the index support level at 2,500.
Manila Electric plunged four pesos to 43 pesos amid fears government efforts to lower power rates would mean reduced profits for the power distributor.
Top-traded Philippine Long Distance Telephone added five pesos to 2,475 on last-minute buying.
San Miguel A and B shares were unchanged at 41 and 42 pesos respectively.
WELLINGTON: New Zealand share prices closed 1.52 percent lower, dealers said.
The NZX-50 gross index fell 51.53 points to close at 3,340.10.
"People are obviously now starting to worry about next year's earnings for companies," said James Porteous, of ABN Amro Craigs.
Fletcher Building dropped 30 cents to 6.54 dollars. Fisher & Paykel Appliances fell eight cents to 2.05 dollars. Auckland International Airport dropped eight cents to 1.99 dollars.Telecom was up five cents at 3.85 dollars.
MUMBAI: Indian shares closed 2.17 percent lower, dealers said.
The benchmark Mumbai 30-share Sensex index fell 334.32 points to 15,087.99.
"Investors were concerned over the possibility of early elections, led by media reports," said Advait Date, dealer at brokerage BHH Securities.