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Asia stocks tumble on mounting Greece fears; Nikkei down 1.7%

Forex Pros - Asian stock markets tumbled on Thursday, tracking steep losses from Wall Street on Wednesday, as mounting fears over a possible Greek default and concerns over the pace of the U.S. economic recovery hurt sentiment.

During late Asian trade, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled 1.7%, South Korea's Kospi Composite slumped 1.9%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell 1.7%.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said that he will name a new government and call a vote of confidence in Parliament later in the day, after protestors rioting against austerity measures clashed with police in Athens on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, disappointing U.S. economic data on manufacturing activity in the New York region and industrial production added to concerns over the U.S. economic outlook.

Shares in exporters performed poorly, with Toyota dropping 1.7%, digital camera maker Canon declining 1.85%, while shares in semiconductor manufacturer Elpida Memory tumbled 3.6%.

Japan's largest commodities trader Mitsubishi Corporation saw shares slide 2.8% after oil and metal prices retreated. The nation's largest oil producer Inpex stumbled 3.75% after oil prices fell below USD95 a barrel.

In Hong Kong, shares in the financial sector were broadly lower amid concerns China planned to introduce further monetary tightening measures.

Shares in China Construction Bank plunged 4.6%, China's largest lender Industrial and Commercial Bank of China saw shares slump 2.1%, while Hong Kong-listed shares of Bank of China fell 1.8%.

Property developers were also lower, with Sino Land dropping 2.2% and Hang Lung Properties down 2.5%.

Meanwhile, shares of the world's largest luggage-maker Samsonite plunged 9.2% in their trading debut in Hong Kong. The company raised USD1.25 billion in an initial public offering on Tuesday.

The outlook for European stock markets was downbeat. The EURO STOXX 50 futures pointed to a drop of 0.2%, France's CAC 40 futures dipped 0.1%, the FTSE 100 futures was down 0.2%, while Germany's DAX futures indicated a decline of 0.25%.

Later in the day, the euro zone was to publish official data on consumer price inflation. Also Thursday, the U.S. was to publish a weekly report on initial jobless claims, as well as data on building permits, housing starts and manufacturing activity.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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