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Pattaya Daily News

02 March 2011 :: 10:03:51 am 50964

Asian shares fall early on global oil fears

TOKYO – Stocks in Asia fell sharply in early trading Wednesday and oil prices topped $100 a barrel, following steep drops in the U.S. on concerns that unrest in Iran and Libya could cause higher oil prices and hinder the global economic recovery.
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Benchmark crude for April delivery was up 59 cents at $100.22 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $2.66 to settle at $99.63 a barrel on Tuesday.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average was down 1.6 percent to 10,578.4, while South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.35 percent to 1,932.5. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was off 0.8 percent.

Shares in New Zealand, China, Taiwan and Singapore were also lower.

In Tokyo, fears of a further global slowdown weighed on exporters like major electronics manufacturers. Toshiba Corp. was down 2 percent, Sony Corp. lost 1.5 percent and Toyota Motor Corp. was 1.7 percent lower.

Sharp Corp. dropped 4.4 percent after Morgan Stanley cut its rating in a report that went out early Wednesday, citing concerns over its LCD panel business.

Airline shares also fell on concerns over fuel prices. Qantas Airways Ltd. dipped 2.1 percent. Korea’s largest airline, Korean Air Lines Co. Ltd. was down 1.3 percent. South Korea’s other major carrier, Asiana Airlines Inc., dropped 3.9 percent. Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. lost 2.3 percent.

The falls came after big drops in the U.S., where the Dow Jones industrial average lost 1.4 percent to 12,058.02, and the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 1.6 percent to 1,306.33.

Investors were concerned about higher fuel prices and their effect on the global economy, as unrest in oil-producing countries continued. Iran clamped down on anti-government protesters and forces loyal to Libya’s leader Moammar Gadhafi launched counterattacks against rebels expanding control over the country.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee that a sustained increase in crude prices could pose a risk to the recovery. Also in the U.S., the Commerce Department said the amount of new homes and offices started by builders fell in January. The annual rate was near its decade low, set in August.

In currencies, the dollar climbed to 81.88 yen versus 81.84 yen overnight, and the euro slid to $1.3747 from $1.3775.

Report by : Yahoo news

Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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