Mercati asiatici scendono ai minimi del 2005

Asian stocks fell, driving the benchmark index to its lowest level since December 2005, as banks slumped on concern credit-market losses will widen and companies reliant on European sales dropped on signs of slowing growth.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc
. and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. declined more than 3 percent after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. posted a wider loss than analysts estimated. Mazda Motor Corp., which gets more than half of its operating profit in Europe, tumbled 6.8 percent after the European Commission cut the euro area’s growth outlook.

Sumitomo Heavy Industries Ltd.
slid 3.2 percent after Japan’s machinery orders fell. “What we’re reading now in today’s news is that everybody is confirming the global slowdown,” said Scott Lim, who helps manage the equivalent of $620 million as chief investment officer at CMS Asset Management Sdn. in Kuala Lumpur.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 1.8 percent to 115.64 as of 11:50 a.m. in Tokyo, dropping for a third day and extending its decline this month to 7.5 percent. Financial stocks were the biggest contributor to the measure’s decline.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 1.2 percent to 12,196.89. All other benchmark indexes in the region declined apart from Indonesia and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index, which added 0.2 percent after the central bank cut its benchmark interest rate to 7.5 percent by more than economists expected. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures were down 0.4 percent recently. U.S. stocks rose yesterday, with the S&P 500 advancing 0.6 percent to 1,232.04, as investors bought energy shares trading at their cheapest level in 18 months. Mitsubishi UFJ, Japan’s biggest bank, fell 3.2 percent to 839 yen. ANZ, Australia’s fourth-largest by market value, slid 4.1 percent to A$16.89.

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