Asian stocks sink after Wall Street plunge

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stocks sank Friday after Wall Street suffered its worst day of the year and weak German trade data fueled worry Europe is sliding into recession.

KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index plunged 1.3 percent to 15,286.25 points and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.6 percent to 23,144.81. China's Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.6 percent to 2,375.28. Seoul fell 1.3 percent and Sydney and Singapore also declined.

WALL STREET: Volatility returned to U.S. markets as stocks had their worst day of the year just 24 hours after recording their best. Prices fell after members of the Federal Reserve board expressed concern about inflation, tempering suggestions in minutes of a recent Fed meeting released Wednesday that suggested interest rates would not be raised for now. The Dow Jones industrial average and Nasdaq composite both lost 2 percent and the broader Standard & Poor's 500 fell 2.1 percent.

EUROPE: Concerns Europe is headed for recession rose after Germany, the continent's biggest economy, reported its weakest year-on-year export growth in five years. The president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, gave no indication of any further monetary stimulus, suggesting in a speech in Washington that governments need to do more on the fiscal side.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "Markets are markets are rather unimpressed with the state of global growth (EZ in the most unflattering state) and equally unimpressed with potential policy response," said Mizuho Bank in a report.

HONG KONG: The government called off talks with pro-democracy protesters, possibly extending demonstrations that have blocked streets for almost two weeks. The protesters want a bigger public voice in the selection of the territory's next leader in 2017. The impact on this Asian financial center's economy has been limited but analysts warn it could rise if protests erode its appeal to foreign companies and investors.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude plunged $2to $83.77 per barrel on concerns slowing global economic growth will reduce demand while production stays high. The contract lost $1.56 on Thursday to $85.77. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost $2.08 to $88.29.

CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 107.78 yen from Thursday's 107.87. The euro held steady at $1.27.