Hong Kong: Asian stocks closed mostly down Tuesday as concerns grew about corporate profits amid a faltering US economy and rising inflation, with attention also turning to a key Group of Seven (G-7) meeting on Friday.
Japanese stocks were among the biggest fallers after the Nikkei-225 index closed down nearly 1.5%. Hong Kong, Australia, South Korea and Singapore closed down 1% or more.
Mainland Chinese shares bucked the trend, building on a near 4.5% surge Monday to close the session 0.36% higher. But they are still well below 2007 highs.
Indonesia led the decline among smaller markets, falling 1.6%, while New Zealand also fell more than 1%.
Asian bourses have stabilized in April but are still down sharply since rising close to or hitting peaks around October last year. The global credit crunch following the US mortgage default crisis has roiled stock prices. Investors remain jittery as forecasters scale back expectations for economic growth with a US recession looming and stoking fears of tumbling corporate profits.
Top finance officials from the G-7 wealthy nations meet in Washington. They are set to discuss the global financial crisis amid calls for more coordinated international action to shore up the world economy.
In Tokyo, the benchmark index fell 199.80 points to end at 13,250.43.
US and Japanese companies may paint a gloomy picture of the earnings outlook, said Soichiro Monji, chief strategist at Daiwa SB Investments.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index closed down 267.07 points at 24,311.69. In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index shed 53.5 points to 5,571.5, while the broader All Ordinaries lost 49.7 points to 5,634.4. Chinese share prices closed up with the benchmark Shanghai Composite index rising 12.92 points to 3,612.54.
“The market saw volatile trade today with some heavyweights hit by profit-taking after rising for two sessions,” said Wang Sai, an analyst at Wanguo Consulting.
In South Korea, prices closed 1.1% lower. The KOSPI index closed at 1,754.71, down 18.85 points.
Financial markets in the country will be closed Wednesday for parliamentary polls. Trading resumes on Thursday when the Bank of Korea announces its decision on interest rates.