Asian stocks were suffering a case of the nerves ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting later Wednesday. Markets started the session on a strong note, but then slipped into negative territory with Hong Kong closing 2.6 percent lower and Japan shedding 1 percent.
The outlook beyond the Fed interest rate decision, remains murky, with hopes of a U.S. economic revival offset by a handful of stocks tumbling anew on fears of a poor 2008. The biggest decliners in Asia include South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world's top shipbuilder, and its rivals Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and Samsung Heavy Industries. All three shed more than 5 percent as analysts predicted a thinner order book.
The Nikkei 225 Average finished almost 1 percent lower as investors dumped shares on worries ahead of a Federal Reserve rate cut decision, with Kyocera and other chip-related shares sliding after a barrage of bad news. Banks tumbled in afternoon trade after reports that Mizuho Financial Group is considering injecting an additional $1.9 billion into its unit Mizuho Securities, as the brokerage continues to falter from subprime investments.