Asia-Pacific stocks plunge on Wall Street’s cue


Tokyo : Asian stocks took a big dive Thursday, reacting to a sharp fall overnight on Wall Street and wiping away gains from earlier in the week.

Support TwoCircles

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average plunged 6.53 percent to 8,899.14 while the broader Topix index of all first-section issues also lost 5.96 percent to close at 909.3.

The plunge came on the heels of a Wall Street decline brought on by a report showing rapidly rising job losses.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 5.05 percent to 9,139.27. The broader Standard and Poor’s 500 Index was down 5.27 percent to 952.77, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index fell 5.53 percent to 1,681.64.

The largest falls in Asia were seen in Hong Kong and Seoul. Hong Kong shares plunged 7.08 percent as the blue-chip Hang Seng Index lost 1,050.12 points to close at 13,790.04.

The losses came 24 hours after the index surged by more than 3 percent on news of Barack Obama’s win in Tuesday’s US presidential election.

Analysts said Thursday’s sharp falls were triggered by the overnight losses on Wall Street, where relentlessly dire US economic data was indicating a prolonged and painful global recession.

Shares crashed similarly on the Seoul stock exchange. The benchmark Kospi index fell 7.6 percent to 1,092.22 while the main index of the technology-heavy Kosdaq market tumbled 8.48 percent to 311.96.

The Philippine Stock Exchange’s 30-share composite index slipped 3.21 percent to 1,941.62 as analysts in Manila said local stocks would continue to take the lead of Wall Street and regional markets.

Australian stocks also drooped with the ASX 200 giving up 4.2 percent of its value to close at 4,149. Investors took their lead from the US market rather than an upbeat assessment of the global economy by Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner.

“I’m optimistic that things have improved and that we’ve seen the worst of these circumstances in the United States and in Europe, but I can’t guarantee that,” Tanner said as stocks slid. “We’ll be doing everything we can to push back against these very powerful economic forces.”