Wall Street slump sparks Asia fall

Asian stocks decline after Wall Street plunges to 12-year low despite US fiscal measures.

    Asian economies have been severely hit by the economic slump [AFP]

    Singapore, Taiwan and India's markets dropped around one per cent each with Shanghai recording a fall of more than three per cent.

    European markets also fell during early trading on Tuesday, with London's FTSE 100 index sliding by 0.36 per cent. In Paris, the CAC 40 dropped 1.01 per cent as Frankfurt's DAX 30 dipped 0.37 per cent.

    In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 3.41 per cent on Monday to 7,114.78 - its lowest close since May 7, 1997.

    The index is 14 per cent down over the past 10 sessions.

    The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index logged its lowest finish since April 11, 1997, losing 3.47 per cent to 743.33.

    'Governments will fall'

    Andrew Critchlow, Middle East manager for Dow Jones, told Al Jazeera the financial crisis will get "a hell of a lot worse before it gets better".

    "Most companies... aren't giving any earnings guidance for the foreseeable future, and without earnings guidance it's very difficult for fund managers and traders on Wall Street to make a call and buy into the market," he said.

    "Leaders will fall, governments will fall and, in some cases, countries will fall"

    Andrew Critchlow, Middle East Manager, Dow Jones

    Critchlow cautioned that the economic crisis would become "increasingly political" and that world "leaders will fall, governments will fall and, in some cases, countries will fall".

    "Investors are just selling out in disgust across the board - disgust with the market [and] disgust with the financial problems," Lorraine Tan, director of equities research at Standard & Poor's in Singapore, said.

    Kaoru Yosano, the Japanese minister of economic and fiscal policy, warned his country's economy would be seriously hit by the market falls.

    "The falling stock prices have a great effect, bigger than we can imagine. I can think of many negative effects happening with impaired assets held by banks and life insurance companies," he said.

    The downward spiral comes as Barack Obama, the US president, pledged on Monday to halve the country's $1.3 trillion budget deficit over the next four years.

    It also comes despite his administration announcing more funding for ailing US banks on Monday.

    Obama signed into law last week a $787bn stimulus bill and also launched a $75bn plan to help the country's ailing housing market, but critics have complained about the lack of detail of the plans.

    'Incredible pessimism'

    Benjamin Pedley, managing director of LGT Investment Asia, told Al Jazeera that the US stimulus package "hasn't been particularly stimulating in terms of US and global stock prices".

    "The real concern at the moment is even though stock prices are down in the United States 53 per cent from the peak of October 2007, if you look at the market from a dividends perspective, dividends are being cut at the fastest pace since 1955," Pedley said.

    "That gives investors even fewer reasons to buy into the stock market."

    Pedley's view is shared by Keith Springer, president of Capital Financial Advisory Services, who cites "the incredible pessimism" as the markets' biggest problem.

    "The government is doing a lousy job of alleviating fears," he said.

    Ryan Detrick, a senior technical strategist at Schaeffer's Investment Research, said "obviously the stock market is voting no" as to whether the government was "doing proper things to get us out of this problem".

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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