Asian Markets Fall on US Bailout Doubts
Asian markets were mostly lower Tuesday on skepticism about how Washington's $700 billion bailout plan can restore confidence in the U.S. financial system when the economy may be facing a recession.
Japanese markets are closed for the Autumn Equinox holiday. They will reopen Wednesday.
The U.S. dollar stabilized after tumbling to a six-week low against the euro Monday as fears arose about rising costs of a bailout exploding the U.S. budget deficit. November crude oil futures were down slightly around $109 a barrel, after rising nearly $7 in New York on the weaker dollar. The October contract, which expired on Monday, soared 16 percent in its biggest one-day gain ever.
South Korea's KOSPI was the only index to buck the negative trend, closing higher after recovering from earlier falls. Domestic institutions were active buyers, supporting Korean shares. Technology stocks such as Samsung Electronics and Hynix Semiconductor finished stronger.
Australian shares retreated 1.9 percent, breaking a sharp two-session rebound. Financial counters such as Macquarie Group closed sharply lower, but gold mining companies such Newcrest Mining advanced.
Hong Kong shares fell 3.9 percent, burdened by concern that a huge bailout plan may not succeed in shoring up the ailing U.S. financial system, but higher gold prices propped up Zijin Mining. Shares in scandal-tainted Mengniu Dairy plunged by nearly two-thirds to a 33-month low at the open before recovering slightly.
Singapore's Straits Times Index fell 2.3 percent as investors sold banks such as Southeast Asia's largest bank DBS Group amid a global credit crisis and worsening economic outlook. Singapore's trade-dependent economy may grow slower than the government's 4-5 percent forecast this year as the global credit crisis hurts demand for exports, the trade minister was quoted as saying in local newspaper reports.
China's Shanghai Composite Index was 1.6 percent lower on profit-taking after two days of hefty gains. But top Asian oil producer PetroChina rose after it announced its parent was increasing its stake in the firm, the first central government-controlled company to buy back shares in its listed unit.