Asian stocks tumbles as Wall Street plunges, oil prices rise


Posted at Jun 27 2008 07:23 PM | Updated as of Jun 28 2008 03:23 AM

Agence France-Presse

HONG KONG - Asian stocks tumbled Friday, with Shanghai plunging more than five percent, Mumbai hitting a 13-month low and Tokyo feeling the bite as investors feared high oil prices and the weak US economy.

Markets opened with big losses after news that the New York Stock Exchange sank to its lowest point since September 2006. That combined with oil prices hitting almost 142 dollars a barrel on Asian trading to send stocks down.

Crude costs were sent soaring after the president of OPEC said in an interview Thursday that he could see prices hitting 170 dollars owing to a weak dollar and geopolitical problems.

In Tokyo, shares fell for a seventh straight day to a two-month low as investors followed Wall Street, while the biggest drop of the day was in Shanghai, where oil firms and car makers were hit by the rising oil prices.

Wall Street was rattled when a broker downgraded banking giant Citigroup and cool earnings were forecast from other US companies.

The fall in Tokyo came as the government announced core inflation had risen to 1.5 percent, its fastest pace in a decade, on the back of soaring oil prices, while consumer spending fell.

Taipei lost more than three percent as firms reacted badly to an interest rate hike that kicked in Friday. Mumbai lost 4.3 percent as oil prices also kicked in and inflation, at a 13-year-high, continued upwards.

The Wall Street phenomenon also led Seoul to close down 1.9 percent, Hong Kong to shed 1.84 percent, Sydney to fall shed 1.3 percent and Singapore to lose 0.84 percent.

In other markets Wellington dropped almost two percent, while Manila was off 2.2 percent. However, Bangkok bucked the trend, closing up 0.17 percent after the government survived a no-confidence vote.

TOKYO: Japanese share prices slid on worries about weak US markets, high oil prices and a stronger yen which is bad for exporters, dealers said.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange's benchmark Nikkei-225 index ended down 277.96 points or 2.01 percent at 13,544.36. The broader Topix index of all first-section shares declined 24.11 points or 1.79 percent to 1,320.68.

Investors took their cue from New York, where the Dow Jones sank 3.03 percent Thursday.

"The biggest factors pushing down Japanese share prices are the (fall in the) Dow Jones and the stronger yen," said Daisuke Uno, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

Oil prices were easier in Asian trade Friday but later struck fresh record highs close to 142 dollars a barrel in Europe.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial gave up 3.3 percent to 933 yen.

Exporters were hit by a stronger yen. Sony fell 4.3 percent to 4,840 yen.

Consumer finance firm Aiful slipped 6.5 percent to 1,205 yen.

Market analysts said the Nikkei might find support around the 13,500 level next week if there is no bad news from the US.

HONG KONG: Shares closed down 1.84 percent, dealers said.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index lost 413.32 points to 22,042.35. Turnover was 65.03 billion Hong Kong dollars (8.34 billion US). For the week, the index fell 3.3 percent, while it is down 21 percent since the start of the year.

Phone maker Foxconn fell more than 8 percent, while Li Fung dropped 6 percent, leading the market's declines, after the two exporters were downgraded over worries about the health of the US economy.

Oil refiner Sinopec slumped more than 3 percent and PetroChina was down 2.52 percent following another rise in crude oil prices.

However, analysts said valuations for the blue chip index were looking increasingly attractive given the recent slide. They also expected a recovery in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics in August.

Property developers led the blue chip declines on concerns that the local residential property market has peaked.

Sun Hung Kai Properties was down 3.07 percent.

SYDNEY: Australian shares dropped 1.3 percent, dealers said.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 shed 70 points to end the day at 5,237.0 while the broader All Ordinaries was down 72.1 points at 5,349.4.

The Australian market tumbled 160.6 points, or 3.1 percent, on opening but clawed back much of the lost ground amid bargain-hunting.

Dealers said the end of the Australian financial year on June 30 could have helped the market.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia closed down 1.0 percent at 40.50 dollars.

BHP Billiton lost 2.4 percent to close at 42.89 dollars and rival Rio Tinto was down 3.0 percent at 132.04 dollars.

Australia's biggest supermarket chain Woolworths rose 2.0 percent to 25.02 dollars.

SHANGHAI: Chinese share prices closed down 5.29 percent, dealers said.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, which covers A and B shares, closed down 153.42 points at 2,748.43 on turnover of 61.7 billion yuan (9.0 billion dollars).

Oil majors, airlines, and auto makers, which are more exposed to global oil prices, were sharply lower on rising fuel costs worries following the spike in oil prices.

Air China was down 8.5 percent at 8.11 yuan and China Eastern Airlines fell 9.7 percent to 6.42.

Sinopec, the country's largest oil refiner, lost 9.12 percent to 10.27.

Concerns over new share offers also weighed down the index as investors worried liquidity pressure would further impact the already weak stock market.

The Shanghai A-share Index lost 5.29 percent to 2,882.95, while the Shenzhen A-share Index was down 6.06 percent at 833.21.

The Shanghai B-share Index was down 4.05 percent to 209.12 and the Shenzhen B-share Index lost 4.58 percent to 471.21.

TAIPEI: Taiwan share prices closed down 3.37 percent, dealers said.

The weighted index was down 263.04 points at 7,548.76, off a low of 7,466.20 and off a high of 7,586.50, on turnover of 122.48 billion Taiwan dollars (4.03 billion US).

The construction sector was down 6.14 percent on fears that higher interest rates would turn potential home buyers away.

The weighted index opened down 4.12 percent on panic stop-loss selling after investors took cues from volatility on Wall Street and the central bank's monetary tightening measures, dealers said.

The central bank has raised its key interest rates by 0.125 basis points to curb inflation.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co lost 1.54 percent at 64.00 and United Microelectronics Corp 3.58 percent at 16.15.

SEOUL: Shares closed 1.9 percent lower, dealers said.

The KOSPI index closed down 33.21 points at 1,684.45, after diving as much as 2.2 percent in the earlier session. The index fell about 3 percent this week.

Samsung Electronics tumbled 3.3 percent to 643,000 won. Hyundai Motor plummeted 5.4 percent to 72,500 won. POSCO fell 1.3 percent to 533,000 won. Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance retreated 2.66 percent.

SINGAPORE: Shares closed 0.84 percent lower, dealers said.

The blue chip Straits Times Index fell 25.04 points to 2,955.91 on volume of 1.08 billion shares valued at 1.51 billion Singapore dollars (1.11 billion US).

The index fell to an intraday low of 2,922.87.

DBS Bank rose eight cents to 19.08 dollars. Singapore Telecom was down three cents to 3.67 dollars, Singapore Airlines declined 20 cents to 14.74 dollars and shipping giant Neptune Orient Lines was up two cents to 3.24 dollars.

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares closed 1.1 percent weaker, brokers said.

The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index dropped 13.35 points to 1,190.54, off an intra-day low of 1,186.71.

The main index was expected to trade within a range of 1,157-1,200 next week, with a downside bias, he said.

New listing Luxchem was down 29.1 percent at 78 sen and IOI Corp fell 1.3 percent to 7.35 ringgit. AirAsia rose 1.8 percent on bargain-hunting.

BANGKOK: Shares closed 0.17 percent higher, dealers said.

They said sentiment turned positive after the Thai government survived a vote of no-confidence in parliament, raising hopes for reduced political tensions.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) composite index rose 1.34 points to close at 775.73 points, while the blue-chip SET 50 index gained 1.09 points to close at 554.41.

Thailand's biggest energy firm PTT rose 2.00 baht to close at 308.00 baht while its subsidiary PTT Exploration and Production gained 5.00 to 188.00.

Thai Airways International edged down 0.50 to close at 21.50.

JAKARTA: Shares slipped 0.8 percent, dealers said.

The Jakarta Composite Index fell 18.7 points to 2,332.12.

Cellular operator Indosat rose 6.3 percent at 6,800 rupiah after Qatar Telecom announced its plan Thursday to launch a tender offer for Indosat shares.

Crude palm oil producer Astra Agro rose 2.1 percent to 28,800 on strong global prices of the commodity.

MANILA: Stocks closed 2.2 percent lower on Friday, dealers said.

The composite index lost 55.53 points to 2,466.29, while the all-shares index fell 1.84 percent to 1,570.20 points.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) fell 1.03 percent to 2,395 pesos. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. slipped 2.089 percent to 33.50 pesos, while San Miguel Corp. saw its A shares fall 4.9 percent to 38.50 pesos and its B shares fall 3.7 percent to 39 pesos.

WELLINGTON: New Zealand shares fell 1.98 percent, dealers said.

The NZX-50 gross index lost 65.05 points to close at 3,226.91 -- its lowest level since December 2005.

Data showing the economy shrank in the March quarter by 0.3 percent, a surprise trade deficit for May and weakening retail sales were overshadowed by the global gloom, analysts said.

Market leader Telecom fell four cents to 3.59 dollars and Contact Energy fell 30 cents to 8.20.

MUMBAI: Indian shares plunged 4.3 percent, dealers said.

The benchmark Mumbai 30 share Sensex index fell 619.6 points to 13,802.22, a 13-month low.

Inflation jumped to 11.42 for the week ended June 14, against 11.05 percent for the previous week and marginally higher than analysts' expectations.

Several economists expect India's central bank to raise rates further, but this may not occur prior to the a scheduled meeting on July 29.