Fears of a contagion caused by Greece’s debt crisis sent Asian stock markets into a tailspin yesterday Wednesday May 5 while the euro sank to a fresh one-year low.
Regional investors went into sell-off mode after European and US markets dived on fears that a 110-billion-euro rescue package for Athens may not be enough and rumours that Spain was also seeking a bailout.
Jitters intensified on reports of mounting public outrage in Greece, where a general strike was under way yesterday and workers have taken to the streets protesting at wage and spending cuts.
Asian exporters were also hit by the plummeting euro as it makes imports for European companies more expensive.
Markets in Tokyo, Seoul and Bangkok were closed for public holidays.
SYDNEY fell 1.33 per cent, or 63.1 points, to end at 4,674.00.
Sydney stocks continued to be pressured by a proposed 40 per cent tax on the “super profits” of mining companies – those deemed to be to be above reasonable expected earnings – announced by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Sunday.
However, most heavyweights rebounded with miner BHP Billiton up 0.39 per cent and rival Rio Tinto 1.82 per cent higher.
SHANGHAI jumped 0.77 per cent, or 21.87 points, to close at 2,857.15 as bargain hunters moved in after the index hit an eight-month low earlier in the day.
HONG KONG: Shares ended 2.10 per cent lower yesterday due to fears of contagion from the Greek debt crisis as well as China’s moves to cap lending on the mainland.
The Hang Seng Index was down 435.51 points at 20,327.54, posting its biggest single-day percentage fall in more than two weeks. Turnover was HK$ 76.43 billion.
SINGAPORE: The benchmark Straits Times Index closed down 1.41 per cent, or 40.87 points, at 2860.31.
The fall was led by DBS Bank which declined 1.5 per cent.
Jardine Cycle and Carriage fell 1.54 per cent to S$29.50 and Singapore Airlines dipped 1.34 per cent to S$14.72.
Plantation firm Golden Agri fell 4.3 per cent.
KUALA LAMPUR: Share prices on Bursa Malaysia staged their follow-through consolidations yes-terday. Overall declining counters continued to outpace advancing counters by 531 to 193.
The FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (FBM KLCI) fell to its intra-day low of 1,324.75 before rebounding to its intra-day high of 1,336.65. It closed at 1,335.65 points, giving a day-on-day loss of 7.24 points, or 0.54 per cent.
In other markets:
TAIPEI tumbled 2.95 per cent, or 233.87 points, to 7,696.90.
JAKARTA fell 3.81 per cent, or 112.78 points, to 2,846.23.
Dealers sold up after respected Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, who introduced numerous reforms that have helped the nation’s economy, quit to join the World Bank.
MANILA fell 3.46 per cent, or 113.83 points, to 3,176.85.
WELLINGTON shed 1.49 per cent, or 49.19 points, to close at 3,248.82.
MUMBAI fell 0.29 per cent, or 49.18 points, to 17,087.96.
VIETNAM: The VN index of Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (STC) fell by 1.11 points or 0.2 percent to close at 548.01 points. The market liquidity slightly slumped with total matching order trade of over 82 million shares valued at more than three trillion dong.
The HNX Index on the northern bourse lost 1.1 points or 0.6 percent to 183.21 points with total market trade of 62.33 million shares worth 2.074 trillion dong.
EUROPE: European stocks closed lower yesterday, as sentiment was soured by the threat of a growing debt crisis in the euro zone, offsetting positive results from InBev and a rise in US private sector jobs.
Some nerves were rattled after ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service put its credit rating for Portugal on a three-month review, and a senior Moody’s analyst said that as a result, a downgrade of the Aa2 credit rating is now likely.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares closed 1 per cent lower at 1,023.41 points, ending at a two-month low for the second straight session.
The London FTSE 100 index lost 1.28 per cent to close at 5,341.93 points.
In Paris the CAC 40 fell 1.44 per cent to finish at 3,636.03 points while in Frankfurt the DAX lost 0.81 per cent to end at 5,958.45 points.
AMERICA: The stock market extended its slide Wednesday after investors couldn’t shake their concerns about European countries’ big debt loads.
The Dow fell 58.65, or 0.5 percent, to 10,868.12. It had been up as much as 20 points and down nearly 112 points.
The Dow is down 2.5 percent in two days, its steepest back-to-back drop in three months.
The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 7.73, or 0.7 percent, to 1,165.87, while the Nasdaq composite index fell 21.96, or 0.9 percent, to 2,402.29.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.54 percent from 3.60 percent late Tuesday.
Gold rose. Crude oil fell $2.77 to $79.97 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
About four stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated volume rose to 6.8 billion shares from 6.6 billion Tuesday.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 11.12, or 1.6 percent, to 698.58.
Benchmark Currency Rates USD EUR JPY GBP CHF CAD AUD HKD HKD 7.7674 9.9569 0.0827 11.7277 6.9495 7.5355 7.0452 AUD 1.1025 1.4133 0.0117 1.6646 0.9864 1.0696 0.1419 CAD 1.0308 1.3213 0.011 1.5563 0.9222 0.9349 0.1327 CHF 1.1177 1.4328 0.0119 1.6876 1.0843 1.0138 0.1439 GBP 0.6623 0.849 0.0071 0.5926 0.6425 0.6007 0.0853 JPY 93.875 120.336 141.737 83.9894 91.0718 85.1456 12.0857 EUR 0.7801 0.0083 1.1778 0.698 0.7568 0.7076 0.1004 USD 1.2819 0.0107 1.5098 0.8947 0.9701 0.907 0.1287 Bloomberg