Wall St jitters difficult to dismiss; Asian markets all in the red

<p>Asian stocks continue to take weak offshore leads as the US debt situation remains unresolved. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index sank 1.2% at in afternoon […]</p>

Asian stocks continue to take weak offshore leads as the US debt situation remains unresolved. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index sank 1.2% at in afternoon Tokyo trading, set for the largest loss since July 12. S&P500 Index futures added 0.2% following a three-day drop in the US markets. 

The Yen strengthened toward a four-month high versus the US dollar and the Euro slid for a second day after S&P cut Greece’s debt rating. The New Zealand dollar jumped as much as 0.4% to 87.36 U.S. cents while Gold traded within 1% of a record.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average slumped 1.7%, South Korea’s Kospi Index dropped 1% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 1.6%.

In corporate news, Advantest sank 7.3% in Tokyo after the world’s biggest maker of memory-chip testers said profit fell 56% last quarter. AU Optronics slid 6.2% after Taiwan’s second-largest maker of liquid-crystal displays posted quarterly losses that were more than twice what analysts had estimated. 

In Australia, Macquarie Bank fell 4.8% after announcing lower than expected earnings guidance. Macquarie says it expects first half 2012 earnings to be of a similar level to the same period in the prior year which was below market estimates for a rise. 

Concern that nuclear radiation fallout is contaminating meat prompted Aeon Co., owner of Japan’s biggest supermarket chain, to start testing beef for cancer-causing substances. Aeon shares fell 1.7%. The company will start selling beef in Tokyo stores today, tested by an independent laboratory to be within safe limits for radioactive cesium, it said in a statement. 

In commodities, a report by RCMA Commodities Asia said the global natural rubber stocks-to- use ratio has plunged to the lowest level ever as expanding demand shrinks inventories in China, potentially boosting prices. Stockpiles in China’s port of Qingdao, which aren’t publicly available, have dropped to about 70,000 metric tons from 120,000 tons in April and May. 


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