Nov. 16 - Asian shares fall alongside the euro Wednesday, after signs that rising borrowing costs are affecting core euro zone member France as well. Arnold Gay reports.
Asian shares fell alongside the euro on Wednesday, after signs that rising borrowing costs are also affecting core euro zone member France. U.S retail sales numbers overnight provided some early cheer but Asian markets soon reversed, falling over one and a half percent, amid the cloudy political outlook in Greece and Italy, and euro era highs for French bond yields. French banks are among the biggest holders of Italy's $2.4 trillion public debt. After a flat start, Tokyo stocks slipped into the red, closing just under a percent down, but shares of Olympus soared as delisting fears continue to ebb. Elpida Memory jumped over 10 percent after keeping its place in the MSCI index, and reports of capacity cuts that may boost memory chip prices. As expected, Japan's central bank kept monetary policy unchanged, but toned down its assessment of the economy due to the widening fallout from Europe's debt crisis. Sovereign debt problems have hurt the euro zone economy, a key Asian export destination. Latest data released Tuesday (November 15) show the euro zone grew just 0.2 percent in the third quarter, and is almost certainly heading for a recession. Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor led the drop in Seoul, although the losses were offset somewhat by gains in tobacco firm KT&G, and Hynix Semiconductor. The benchmark Kospi shed 30 points, to close 1.6 percent down at 1,854. Arnold Gay Reuters.