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Asian stocks crash following US markets collapse; Nikkei, Hang Seng tank more than 400 points

Friday, July 27, 2007

Japanese stocks led Asian markets in a broad-based retreat early Friday, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 tumbling more than 400 points to its lowest level in two months as export stocks such as Canon Inc. and Honda Motor Corp. were hit hard on concerns over the outlook for the U.S. economy. The Asian declines followed a session of heavy selling on Wall Street as markets continued to grapple with concerns over housing and credit.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index dropped 416.02.78 points, or 2.4%, to 17,286.07, while the Topix index retreated 2.2% to 1,913.68. South Korea's Kospi index tumbled 2.54% to 1,913.90 while Taiwan's Weighted price index retreated 2.27% at 9,349.59. Australia's S&P ASX/200 traded 2% lower to 6,175.30 and New Zealand's NZX 50 Index retreated 2.2% to 4,231.597. Singapores' Straits Times was also down 2.6%, while Hong Kong' Hang Seng was down 1.84% or 428 points

Crude oil futures for September delivery were up 27 cents to $ 75.22 a barrel in after hours trading. Crude retreated from near record levels above a barrel on New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday amid concern a weaker economy will dampen demand. The benchmark contract ended 93 cents lowers, shedding 1.2%, to close at $ 74.95 a barrel.

The Dow plunged 311.50 points or 2.26%, to 13,473.57 after falling 449.77 in earlier trading. The close was its worst since the 416.02 it lost on Feb. 27, when a drop in the Shanghai stock market rattled world exchanges. Broader market indicators also slid. The Nasdaq composite index tumbled 48.83, or 1.84%, to 2,599.34, while the Standard & Poor's 500 skidded 35.43, or 2.33%, to 1,482.66. The Russell 2000 index, which reflects the movement of small-company stocks, fell 21.02, or 2.59%, to 791.48.

Before Thursday's big drop, the Dow had been up 10.61% for the year -- and that margin has now been cut to 8.11%. The S&P 500 was up 7.04%, and the market decline now puts it at a year-to-date gain of 4.54%; while the Nasdaq's 9.64% increase has been cut to 7.62%.

The declines triggered a global sell-off in stocks, causing minor losses in Europe to accelerate rapidly along with the Dow's drop. In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 closed down 3.15%, Germany's DAX index dropped 2.39%, and France's CAC-40 fell 2.78%.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar was quoted at 119.08 yen, down from its level of 120.23 yen in late Tokyo during the previous session.

Posted by FR at 9:23 AM  

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