Asian stocks tumble on fiscal cliff fears; Nikkei down 0.59%

Shutterstock photo - Asian equities were broadly lower in Friday's session as fears over the stalled fiscal cliff talks in the U.S. set in.

In Asian trading Friday, Japan's Nikke 225 dropped 0.59% as the Japanese yen surged against the U.S. dollar and the other major currencies.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.76% while the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.52%.

Traders appeared to be skittish about riskier assets after House Speaker John Boehner pulled his so-called Plan B fiscal cliff option, which called for tax increases only on those Americans earning $1 million or more per year, because his Republican colleagues did not support the legislation.

Although U.S. financial markets are open Friday, the U.S. House has adjourned for the Christmas holiday, fueling speculation that policymakers will not be able to avert the fiscal cliff. The Bush-era tax cuts that are at the center of the cliff debate are set to expire on January 1, 2013. The combination of the expired tax cuts and spending reductions could amount to $600 billion.

On the up side, various media outlets reported the House could come back into session two days after Christmas on December 27. Still, that leaves a short window in which to solve the fiscal cliff and knowing that, traders appeared to be passing on riskier assets Friday.

Elsewhere, South Korea's Kospi fell nearly 1% while Singapore's Straits Times Index slid 0.28%.

Following comments made by ANZ chairman John Morschel on Thursday that other sectors of the Australian economy, such as housing and retail, are not recovering quickly enough to make up for the rapidly declining mining sector, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.5%.

New Zealand's NZSE 50 tumbled 0.51%. Indicating that Friday could be a grizzly day for U.S. stocks, S&P 500 futures were lower by 1.53% as of this writing. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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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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