Asian Stocks Decline On Weak Japan, South Korea Data

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An investor checks stock information with a computer at a brokerage house in Hefei
An investor checks stock information with a computer at a brokerage house in Hefei, Anhui province Feb. 20, 2012.

Asian markets fell Friday as investor confidence was weighed down amid increasing concerns about the global economy after data showed a fall in the industrial output of Japan and South Korea.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average was down 1.11 percent or 99.57 points to 8884.21. Among major losers were Sharp Corp (9.20 percent), Denso Corp (4.18 percent) and JFE Holdings Inc (3.56 percent).

The Chinese Shanghai Composite marginally fell 0.08 percent or 1.64 points to 2050.94. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.46 percent or 89.34 points to 19463.57. Among major losers were Sands China Ltd (1.27 percent) and Citic Pacific Ltd (4.11 percent).

South Korea's KOSPI Composite Index dropped 0.22 percent or 4.14 points to 1902.24. Shares of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd fell 0.66 percent and those of LG Electronics Inc rose 0.28 percent.

India's BSE Sensex fell 0.22 percent or 38.95 points to 17502.69. Among major losers were DLF Ltd (1.26 percent), Wipro Ltd (0.84 percent) and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (0.73 percent).

According to data released Friday by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the country's industrial production saw a decline of 1.2 percent in July down from 0.4 percent increase in June. Investors were worried to note that the soft global demand is affecting the industrial output of the world's third largest economy.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Japan's economic growth slowed down in the April-June quarter compared to the first three months of the year, indicating that the country was losing the growth momentum due to the soft global demand and weak consumer spending. Japan's economy grew 0.3 percent in the second quarter, down from 1.2 percent in the first three months of the year.

Investors feel that the Bank of Japan (BoK) would need to urgently expand its asset purchase program with Japan's economy having lost its growth momentum faced with deflation and the strengthening of the yen.

Meanwhile, according to data released Friday by the National Statistical Office, the industrial production in South Korea saw a decline of 1.6 percent in July, down from 0.6 percent decrease in June. With South Korea's economy continuing to slow down, investors feel that the BoK will be under pressure to announce monetary easing measures at the next meeting in September.

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