Asia Sinks While the U.S. and Europe Stumble

The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) is down 1.02% in late London trading, outpacing the lowered opening across the Atlantic in America. The S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) is down 0.64% in early trading in New York. Still, both of those falls aren't as bad as the one experienced by Hong Kong's Hang Seng (INDEX: ^HSI) , which dropped 1.32%.

Another day, another China worry
What's driving the indexes down? The Hang Seng saw a steep sell-off in energy stocks. Chinese oil giant CNOOC (NYS: CEO) reported a profit jump of 29% and announced aggressive plans to continue developing unconventional resources. Yet the company was the biggest loser on the Hang Seng, dropping 3.28%. That's in large part because while profit for the entirety of 2011 was good, refining losses pushed the company's profit for last quarter well below expectations. That, combined with oil prices that continue falling, was enough to push CNOOC down after earnings.

What about Europe's woes?
Over in Europe, another sector was swooning. The FTSE's loss is being led by financials. Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland were the index's two biggest losers, both down over 3% in late trading. There doesn't appear to be any specific news targeting any financial firms -- though the U.K. house price index fell by 1% -- so this looks like investors selling out of a troubled sector on day when the VIX, or fear index, is soaring 10%.

Back to the United States
In the United States, media outlets are blaming jobless claims for the drop. While jobless claims did miss forecasts, they still continued falling. My guess is that while this is a convenient source to blame for the drop in U.S. markets, the drop in the S&P is just a continuation of worries in Asia and Europe. In company-specific news in America, struggling retailer Best Buy (NYS: BBY) announced earnings and is once again being punished this morning. The retail chain is beginning a "transformation" plan that will see it shut down stores and begin aggressively opening mobile kiosks. And so, Best Buy's slow decline to becoming "RadioShack, but with some bigger stores" continues.

Keep searching for energy opportunities
Energy companies like CNOOC might be taking a nosedive today, but that doesn't mean there isn't opportunity across the energy space. For better ideas, I invite you to take a look at the top oil stocks recommended by Motley Fool analysts in a recent special free report: "3 Stocks for $100 Oil." The report won't be available forever, so we invite you to enjoy a free copy today. You can access it by clicking here. Fool on!

At the time thisarticle was published Eric Bleeker owns shares of no company listed above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Best Buy. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.

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