Asian Markets Close Lower, Hong Kong Gains
Asian markets slipped into the red Wednesday, with the exception of the Hang Seng index, paring back the modest gains made in the morning. Japan finished down while South Korea closed over 1 percent lower.
The confidence-boosting news of a $7.5 billion capital injection for Citigroup by Abu Dhabi Investment Authority on Tuesday proved short-lived as investors took profits on the dollar's surge.
Bank stocks that rose the most on the Citigroup deal came under pressure as wary investors locked in gains. Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ and Mizuho Financial both eased, taking a breather after Tuesday's rebound. Citigroup fell over 4 percent in Tokyo, despite a 1.5 percent rise in
its U.S.-listed shares, but South Korea's Shinhan Financial Group and Kookmin Bank both advanced.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 Average fell 0.5 percent as growing concern about the U.S. economy and the dollar's slip against the yen put Toyota Motor and other exporters under pressure.
The Nikkei has so far dropped 12 percent this year and is only 3 percent above its year-low marked last week.
Seoul shares fell 1.3 percent reversing a similar early gain undermined by refiners after a sharp drop in oil prices, while lingering credit concerns dented exporters such as Hyundai Motor. Samsung Electronics rose after it projected that the oversupply in the market would ease next year.
Australian shares ended almost 1 percent lower as weaker oil and metals prices weighed on
resource firms such as BHP Billiton, while financial firms resumed declines on persistent credit worries.
Hong Kong blue chips closed higher as global bank HSBC Holdings weighed amid worries that more bad news could arise from the credit turmoil, but China plays rose 1 percent. Cautious investors shunned Sinotruk's IPO, with shares in China's largest heavy truck maker trading between a 7 to 16 percent loss over its offer price.
Singapore's Straits Times Index ended largely flat. Shares of Chinese contract electronics maker ChungHong Holdings, which raised $14 million in its Singapore initial share offer, gained 6.8 percent above their issue price. The company, which makes television and computer screens, said the offer of 55 million new shares was about 1.5 times subscribed.
Chinese shares slipped in late-session trade to finish 1.2 percent in the red.