Asian stock markets declined on Thursday, as investors' hopes declined over the outcome of a long-awaited crucial European Union (EU) summit later this week.
Investors' hopes faded, in particular, after a German official expressed doubts about the possibility the summit, to be held in Brussels, could succeed.
I have to say today, on Wednesday, that I am more pessimistic than last week about reaching an overall deal ... A lot of protagonists still have not understood how serious the situation is, said the unnamed official, Reuters reported.
The general sentiment was also hit by weaker than expected economic reports from Japan and Australia. In fact, all Asian markets, including stocks in Japan, Hong Kong, Seoul and China, ended on a weak note.
The Japanese benchmark, Nikkei, declined 0.66 percent or 57.59 points to 8,664.58, while shares of Tokyo Electric Power Co. plunged more than 11 percent on news it may be effectively nationalized. Meanwhile, Toyota Motors fell 0.93 percent and Komatsu Ltd. declined 0.69 percent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.69 percent and the Chinese Shanghai fell 0.12 percent, while Seoul composite lost 0.37 percent.