Asian markets tumble
Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended the day at 20,137.65, clocking a 3.62 percent decline, and the S&P/ASX closed down 1.63 percent at 4,338.4. China's Shanghai Composite Index plummeted 5.8 percent – its biggest drop since November 18.
Some of the day's biggest losers included Sony Corp.'s plunge of 4.1 percent and Nissan Motor Co Ltd.'s fall of 3.4 percent after news of a further slump in exports. The United States accounts for 24 percent of Sony's revenue and is still mired in recession, fueling fears that cash-strapped Americans will bump Sony's PlayStation 3 off their shopping lists. Hong Kong's Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. slid 5.9 percent after reporting a dismal 45 percent fall in first-half net profits.
All of this bad news triggered the MSCI Asia Pacific Index's biggest dive in nearly five months, ending the day with a 3.3 percent loss. Many speculate that the economic growth seen in Japan and China will not meet investors' expectations, adding to worries that today's market mayhem may be a harbinger of more trouble to come.