RTTNews - With concerns over the pace of economic recovery hurting sentiment and the yen making significant advance against the U.S. dollar, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region are trading weak on Thursday.

The U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, while sounding optimistic regarding the recovery of the much-battered financial sector, said a full recovery will take time. As traders decided to refrain from buying and chose to take profits instead, the major U.S. averages ended lower on Wednesday. Taking cues, investors across Asian markets are seen pressing sales in stocks across various sectors.

In the Japanese market, exporters fell sharply on a stronger yen. Financial, real estate, automobile and electronics stocks are trading sharply lower this morning. Chemicals, pharmaceuticals and electronics issue are also exhibiting weakness. Non-ferrous metals have edged higher.

The Nikkei 225 index, which opened with a negative gap, is trading at 9,219.40, down 125.24 points or 1.34% from its previous close.

In the Australian market, financials, consumer staples and energy issues have taken a beating. Materials are mostly trading firm, while information technology stocks are trading modestly higher. Telecom and industrials stocks are exhibiting weakness.

The benchmark Australian index S&P/ASX 200 is down by 25.60 points at 3,799. The All Ordinaries index is down by 17.60 points at 3,791.30.

Technology, shipbuilding and steel stocks are trading weak in the Korean market. Airlines and telecom stocks are also seen struggling for support, while bank stocks are exhibiting a mixed trend.

The KOSPI, which was moving in a tight band for well over an hour earlier in the day, is currently down by 20.44 points or 1.42% at 1,415.26.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng is down sharply by 251.18 points or 1.44% at 17,224.66. The Shanghai Composite index is down by over 1.5% or 40.37 points at 2,611. The NZX 50 index of the New Zealand market is down nearly 1% or 26.65 points at 2,774.44. The Straits Times index of the Singaporean market is down by about 1% or 22.58 points at 2246.66. The Taiwan Weighted average is down 45.03 points or 0.67% at 6,658.59.

Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region had finished mixed on Wednesday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.5 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.3 percent.

Oil prices registered fresh six-month intra-day highs and closing highs, spurred by a second straight decline in weekly inventories. Crude oil inventories fell by 2.1 million barrels in the week ended May 15. Experts had forecast a decline of about 1.5 million barrels of crude oil. Crude contracts settled more than 3% higher at just above $62 per barrel.

Major European markets closed Wednesday's session mixed. The French CAC 40 Index finished up 0.8% and the German DAX Index also closed up, rising by 1.6% on the session. On the other hand, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index closed down by 0.3%.

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