Skepticism about plans by major central banks to tackle tight credit conditions kept Asian stocks subdued Thursday, with all of the benchmark indexes marking a loss for the day.
The U.S. Federal Reserve said it would launch a temporary short-term lending facility for banks to secure funds, while the European Central Bank and counterparts in Canada, Britain and Switzerland announced similar moves.
The Bank of Japan added that it would ensure stable money markets by conducting appropriate operations such as supplying year-end funds, as the world's major central banks acted together to ease pressure in money markets. Australia also gave its support to the joint action.
Financial stocks fell across the region, further hit by news that three of the major U.S. banks including Bank of America had warned of fourth-quarter write-downs and loan losses. Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ, South Korea's Shinhan Financial Group and Australia's Macquarie Group were all lower. Citigroup's Tokyo stocks dropped 5 percent. But investors bought energy stocks on the back of the jump in oil prices overnight. Japan's Inpex Holdings and Australia's
Woodside Petroleum both climbed.