Asian Markets Still Sliding

Many Asian markets drifted lower Wednesday as cautious investors withdrew funds from regional stock indexes after the Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 200 points for the second day in a row.

Taking a cue from the downturn in New York, equity markets around the Pacific rim - from New Zealand to Singapore - opened lower amid growing concern over the possibility of a worldwide economic slump.

CBS MarketWatch Correspondent Stacey Tisdale reports that economic crises in Asia, Russia, and Latin America have taken its toll on the U.S. economy in the form of lost jobs.

Consumers in those countries no longer can afford to buy American imports. Hardest hit are the fields of technology, agriculture, and oil. Demand for those products has gone down very quickly and so has the price. All of this has dampened investor confidence.

In Europe, meanwhile, London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100-share index was down 140.9 at 4,767.3 in midmorning trading.

New Zealand's NZSE-40 capital index lost 26.30 points to close at 881668.24, its second straight day at a five-year low.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index fell 11.05 points, or 1.2 percent, to 904.97 in early trading on global recession fears triggered by the Dow's two-day tumble, traders said.

The Dow, which plunged 237.90 points Wednesday, dropped another 210.09 points, a decline of 2.7 percent, to close at 7,632.53 on Thursday.

The selling spree, sparked by worries about shrinking corporate profits and fears of new financial crises, left the Dow 18.3 percent, or more than 1,700 points, below the all-time high of 9,337.97 reached July 17.

The closely-watched average slid 12.4 percent in the third quarter, which ended Wednesday - its worst quarterly performance in eight years. The Dow is now 3.5 percent below where it began this year.

Sinking stock prices in New York have kindled doubts about the ability of top-flight Asian manufacturers to rely on strong sales in the United States to keep their factories humming amid a prolonged slump in their home markets.

In South Korea, the Composite Stock Price Index dropped 2.56 points to 303.08 just after the start of trading.

"The market is falling again on the overall stock fall in many other countries Thursday, raising jitters over world financial instability," said Yun Sam-wee, an analyst at LG Securities Co. in Seoul.

Led by shares of blue-chip exporters, Japan's benchmark Nikkei Stock Average dipped below 13,000 for the first time since January of 1986 before recovering to close up 26.57 points, or 0.20 percent, to 13,223.69.

In Australia, the All Ordinaries stock index was down 40.3 points to 2528.9 as of midday. Bank shares led the market lower following the decline in financial shares traded overnight in New York, but this was partially offset by a rise in mining stocks on higher gold prices, traders said.

Markets in Manila and aipei were similarly hit hard Friday after sharp declines in the previous day's trading. The 30-share Philippine Stock Exchange Index lost 31.70 points, or 2.6 percent, to close the week at 1195.62.

In Taiwan, the Weighted Price Index of the Taiwan Stock Exchange plunged 266.06 points, or 4 percent, to end at 6346.00. Wall Street worries combined with concern over reports a local transportation conglomerate was unable to meet its payment obligations, traders said.

Indonesia's JSX Composite Index also headed lower in early trading, losing 3.72 points, or 1.3 percent, to 270,152.

Hong Kong and Shanghai financial markets were closed Friday to celebrate China's National Day holiday.

Written by Chester Dawson