LONDON (CNNfn) - Asian stock markets fell Tuesday although they avoided a repeat of the rout that swept across the region the previous day. Losses among bank and manufacturing shares in Tokyo outweighed a recovery among the technology and telecommunications stocks that took a beating Monday.|
Japan's benchmark Nikkei Average of 225 leading shares slipped 48.09 points, or 0.25 percent, to close at 19,141.84. Financial-service stocks fell after three major banks announced plans to merge.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index closed down 167.52 points, or 0.98 percent, at 16,929.16.
In the U.S. Monday, the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index fell 141.38 points, nearly 3 percent - it fourth-biggest point loss in history - to 4,907.24, on concern that Japan's latest economic stumble will hurt profits at technology companies. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 18.31 points to 9,947.13.
In Tokyo Tuesday, Sanwa Bank, Tokai Bank and Asahi Bank said they would merge next year. The combined bank will have assets of about 103.7 trillion yen, making it the world's third-biggest. Sanwa shares fell 7 percent to 1,050, Daiwa dropped 7.3 percent to 281 yen, and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi lost 3.9 percent to close at 1,739 yen. Tokai gained 0.75 percent to 665 yen.
Technology and telecom stocks recovered some composure. Nippon Telegraph and Telephone rose 3.8 percent to 1.36 million yen, while its separately listed mobile-phone subsidiary, NTT DoCoMo, surged 14.8 percent to 3.89 million yen. Sony Corp. rose 4.5 percent to 25,390 yen, partly recouping Monday's 7.6 percent tumble.
On Hong Kong's Hang Seng index, conglomerates Hutchison Whampoa and parent Cheung Kong, which on Monday fared less badly than tech stocks, remained in negative territory. Hutchison fell 4.8 percent to HK$137.50 and Cheung Kong slipped 3.7 percent to HK$103.
Hong Kong's No. 3 mobile phone operator SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings fell HK$3.30, or 9.6 percent, to $HK31 before the company announced it fell to a loss of HK$393 million for the six months to Dec. 31 from a profit a year earlier. Internet company Pacific Century CyberWorks, which has agreed to take control of telecom operator C&W HKT in a $38 billion deal, slipped HK$0.20 to HK$20.50.
In Singapore, the Straits Times Index closed up 0.53 percent, or 10.81 points, at 2,043.57 in cautious trading. Overseas-Chinese Bank Corp. jumped 2.5 percent to S$10.20 on speculation that it may buy Grindlays Bank, a unit of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group. OCBC declined to comment on the speculation.
The All Ordinaries index in Sydney slipped 2.9 points to close at 3,187.4. Shares of media giant News Corp. fell almost 4 percent, or 95 cents, to A$23.75. Mining stocks rose on speculation that gold and nickel producer WMC might be a takeover target for Alcoa Inc. Among other miners, North rose 2.3 percent and Broken Hill climbed 3.2 percent.
South Korea's benchmark Kopsi index ended slipped 7.92 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 846.74 as most technology and telecom stocks fell.
Thai stocks ended 2.62 percent amid strong demand for banking and electronics shares. Kuala Lumpur stocks slid 0.40 percent to 932.05 amid disappointment over an asset disposal plan by Renong. Jakarta shares slipped 1.66 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 585.92.
In currency markets, the yen strengthened to 104.73 yen per U.S. dollar from 105.58 yen in late New York trading Monday.