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Asian stocks fall despite Senate rescue plan vote

business Updated: Oct 02, 2008 09:21 IST

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Asian stock markets retreated Thursday as broader concerns about a global slowdown outweighed any relief over the U.S. Senate's passage of the bailout package to rescue the U.S. financial system.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average lost 1.1 percent at 11,242.65, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index slipped 0.9 percent to 17,850.13.

Benchmarks in Australia, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan were also in negative territory.

Investors are staying largely on the sidelines until the House of Representatives votes on the plan Friday. But even if the package is approved, that may do little to lift market sentiment amid doubts about the bailout's ultimate impact on a faltering global economy, analysts said.

"Investors are still concerned about the efficiency of this rescue plan and how it can help the global economy," said Aric Au, marketing manager for institutional sales at Phillip Securities in Hong Kong. "But at this moment, nobody is sure about this. They need to have more information about the finalized plan." Japanese automakers took a big hit after the industry reported dismal September sales figures in the U.S., their key export market.

U.S. auto sales dropped below 1 million last month for the first time in more than 15 years as some consumers struggled to get financing and others were frightened away from showrooms by bank failures and turmoil on Wall Street.

Shares of Toyota Motor Corp. fell 3.8 percent after posting a 32 percent drop in U.S. sales. Nissan Motor Co., who reported a 37 percent plunge in sales, shed 3.9 percent, while Honda Motor Co. slumped 4.5 percent after sales declined 24 percent. In New York Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average dipped 0.2 percent to 10,831.07.

Markets in China, Malaysia and Indonesia were closed Thursday due to national holidays.