Asian markets ended mostly lower Monday, while the price of gold hit a new record high above $900 a troy ounce as investors sought protection against a potential U.S. recession and a weaker dollar. Hong Kong stocks closed 1.5 percent lower and South Korean shares lost almost 1 percent.
Beleaguered U.S. banks look set to receive capital injections, with Merrill Lynch seeking about $4 billion, according to The Financial Times, and Citigroup on the lookout for foreign investments. The financial firms are set to report earnings this week as investors worry about more U.S.-mortgage related writedowns. Merrill Lynch is expected to suffer $15 billion in the latest quarter.
The Dow Jones, Standard & Poor's 500 and Nasdaq Composite indexes all dropped on Friday, after a warning by American Express of mounting credit card defaults and a slowdown in consumer spending.
South Korea's KOSPI finished down almost 1 percent to a five-month closing low, as investors continued to dump exporters such as LG Electronics amid deepening worries that a U.S. economic recession would hit demand for South Korean goods.