Asian stocks dropped for a second session, led by technology and financial companies, as losses at Hitachi and Mizuho Financial Group fuelled concern the global recession is deepening.
Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 1.5 per cent to 7873.98. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index finished 3.1 per cent to close at 12861.49, its largest drop since January 15. Hong Kong stocks retreat led by property shares on concern a slowing global economy will dent real estate demand. South Korea's Kospi was off 1.6 per cent at 1143.89. Markets in Australia, Singapore, and India fell one per cent or more. Other markets fell except Taiwan, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index lost two per cent to 81.50 in Tokyo. Almost four stocks declined for each that advanced on the gauge, which has slumped nine per cent this year amid mounting signs corporate profits are deteriorating.
China's Shanghai Composite Index added 1.1 per cent following a holiday last week for the Lunar New Year. The world's largest money managers say China's steepest monthly stock gain in more than a year shows the fastest-growing major economy will avert a recession.
The Shanghai Composite Index, the broadest measure of shares traded in China rose yesterday to the highest in more than a month. The gauge advanced 9.3 per cent in January, the most among the world's 10 biggest markets. The index fell 65 per cent last year, the worst since at least 1996.
Chinese shares rebounded after the central bank lowered interest rates five times since September and the government announced a $584 billion (Dh2.14trn) stimulus plan.
Hitachi, the world's third-largest maker of hard-disk drives, plunged 17 per cent to 244 yen in Tokyo.
The company reversed its profit forecast on January 30 to a record net loss of 700 billion yen (Dh28.6bn) for the year ending March 31.