Asian Stocks Fall On Europe Worries

on April 16 2012 5:13 AM
A man walks past an electronic board displaying Japan's Nikkei share average outside a brokerage in Tokyo
A man walks past an electronic board displaying Japan's Nikkei share average outside a brokerage in Tokyo December 12, 2011. REUTERS

Asian stock markets declined Monday, following a slump in the US and European stocks last week on renewed eurozone concerns.

The Japanese benchmark Nikkei plunged 1.74 percent or 167.35 points to 9,470.64 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.44 percent or 90.40 points to 20,610.64 while Chinese Shanghai edged 0.09 percent lower.

All the three major US indices declined more than 1 percent Friday after Spanish benchmark 10-year bond yields soared to 5.93 percent after data showed that the country's banks were relying more on the European Central Bank funding.

Further pressure on Spanish bond spreads is likely especially as it has become clear that the country's banks are relying more on European Central Bank funding. In turn this could force the ECB's hand to restart its program of Securities Market Purchases but the impact may not be so potent this time around, a note from Credit Agricole said.

Meanwhile, the weaker-than-expected Chinese GDP data showed that the growth momentum has been getting weaker in the world's second biggest economy. China's gross domestic product growth slowed down to 8.1 percent in the first quarter, the lowest quarterly growth rate in three years, owing to a global demand weakness and reduced real estate investments. Economists had expected 8.4 percent growth.

Financial sector shares led the declines in Japan and Hong Kong. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group declined more than 3 percent in Japan while HSBC Holdings Plc fell 1.40 percent in Hong Kong.

Disappointing Chinese economic growth data weighed on commodities shares. China's biggest metal producer Jiangxi Copper declined 0.85 percent and Angang Steel plunged 2.75 percent in Hong Kong.