Asian stocks fall on weak US economy

Asian stocks mostly fell Wednesday, led by a 2 percent tumble in Japan, following a slew of economic and earnings reports that provided a reminder the U.S. economic recovery remains fitful.

The stream of bad news from the world’s biggest economy included earnings from Procter & Gamble Co. and Dow Chemical Co. that fell short of forecasts. On the data front, factory orders fell in June while consumer spending and income figures showed that people are still very cautious with their money.

Continued strength in the yen hit Japanese exporters, dragging the benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average down by 190.43 points, or 2 percent, to 9,503.58. The dollar fell to 85.34 yen from 85.80 yen late Tuesday in New York.

South Korea’s Kospi was off 0.7 percent at 1,778.78, the Shanghai Composite Index retreated 0.5 percent to 2,615.04 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.1 percent to 21,434.24.

Elsewhere, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.4 percent to 4,552.50 and Singapore’s Straits Times Index shed 0.3 percent to 3,003.49. Markets in Taiwan and New Zealand also fell while benchmarks in India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand gained.

The dour trading in Asia came after broad declines on Wall Street on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 38.00, or 0.4 percent, to 10,636.38. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 5.40, or 0.5 percent, to 1,120.46, while the Nasdaq composite index fell 0.5 percent.

Shares in Europe were also mostly lower on Tuesday. The broad slump in U.S. and European stock prices was in contrast to an upbeat session and hefty gains on Monday, when the manufacturing surveys beat expectations and raised hopes for a quick economic recovery.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3211 from $1.3222.

Benchmark crude for September delivery was down 25 cents to $82.30 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $1.21, or 1.5 percent, to settle at $82.55 on Tuesday.

Source: AP

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