Asian stocks mostly lower after US, Europe fall
BEIJING—Asian stock markets were mostly lower Thursday, ending a two-day rally after investors were rattled by the European Central Bank's huge loan to bolster the continent's banks.
Tokyo's main index was off 0.9 percent at 8,424.5 and China's benchmark declined 0.8 percent to 2,172.67. Taiwan's Taiex was the region's only main index to gain, rising 0.2 percent to 6,983.27.
The declines came after Asian stocks plunged early this week on anxiety over the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, then rallied on positive U.S. construction data and a strong Spanish government debt auction.
"We're seeing the markets fall on their own weight here in Asia, with no one looking to step in and buy," said Chris Weston, an institutional dealer for Australia's IG Markets.
On Wednesday, investors were spooked by the huge size of the ECB's euro489 billion ($639 billion) loan to 523 banks -- its biggest credit infusion to date as authorities try to steady a financial system under pressure from Europe's debt crisis.
The loan will help to ensure banks have enough money to lend next year but cannot address the underlying problem of government debts.
"The ECB tender was obviously a good situation. It alleviates some of the symptoms. But it's not going to change the situation long-term," said Weston.
European markets fell Wednesday and on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 0.5 percent. The broader S&P 500 index fell 0.6 percent, led by an 11 percent decline for Oracle Corp., which said it was struggling to close deals, reinforcing worries business and the government may cut technology spending.
European officials says banks need to raise euro115 billion ($150 billion) in new capital but investors are leery of putting more money into them. It would be politically unpopular for governments to do it and their finances are stressed as well.
Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was off 0.4 percent at 18,334.1 points while Seoul's Kospi was down 0.1 percent at 1,845.85. Singapore declined 0.1 percent to 2,669.27 while Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 shed nearly 1 percent to 4,101.3.
Benchmark crude for February delivery was off 13 cents at $98.80 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The euro was little changed at $1.304 while the dollar was off slightly at 78.06 yen.