Asian trade: Asian equities are trading lower for a third consecutive day, dragged by the financials and auto stocks. U.S. futures posted some small gains over the same period.

Asian car manufacturers are at the mercy of the U.S. economy right now, since a huge part of their incomes come from the world’s biggest economy. However, in Japan, the public listed shares of the car manufacturers fell on average 25%, meaning that these companies have out-performed the Nikkei Index, which fell more than 50% since one year ago. On the other hand, the Nikkei Financials index fell in-line with the market.

The Japanese index Nikkei is currently trading near a 26-years old bottom, as the economy faced two major bubbles in the early 1990’s and 2000’s from which it has never recovered. Some say, that the Japanese economy faced some similar challenges to what the U.S. economy is experiencing right now: a big real-estate bubble and non-performing loans. In 1990, the Nikkei topped near 40,000 points, compared with yesterday’s close of 7100 points.

Remaining in the same area, a report showed that Philippines exports plunged 41%, the most in almost 3 decades. All the major Asian economies face similar declines in their export market, since demand has drastically slowed in the two biggest markets: Euro-area and the U.S. Since many of these Asian economies rely on their export market to survive, this points to trouble ahead.

Tonight, the Nikkei fell 19.81 points (0.28%) to 7,066.22. The Australian S&P gained 9.50 points (0.30%) to 3,164.00.

Crude oil advanced, as OPEC is preparing to cut production again. Crude oil for April delivery added $0.25 to $47.30.

Gold was helped to remain steady by its safe haven outlook. Bullion for immediate delivery rose $1.60 to $919.60.