Asian stocks sag on US growth fears but European markets stabilize after big falls

Energy Associated Press

Asian stocks sank Thursday after a torrid session on Wall Street triggered by jitters the recovery in the world's No. 1 economy is weakening but European markets were stabilizing after a big fall.

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KEEPING SCORE: After steep falls on Wednesday, France's CAC 40 was down 0.1 percent at 3,933.17 while Germany's DAX was little changed at 8,577.08. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.4 percent to 6,233.36. Wall Street appeared to be in for a rebound. Dow Jones futures were up 0.1 percent and S&P 500 futures rose 0.2 percent. That follows a gyrating previous session after a contraction in U.S. retail sales in September suggested demand in the world's biggest economy may be losing strength. After paring some earlier losses, the Dow closed Wednesday down 1 percent, and the Standard & Poor's down 0.8 percent.

ANALYST TAKE: "Traders might be counting on a rebound in the Dow tonight after five straight sessions of losses which has eroded nearly 1,000 points on the Dow," said Desmond Chua, analyst at CMC Markets in Hong Kong. "The greenback fell steeply against the majors following weak data which suggests the global slowdown is taking its toll on the largest economy in the world."

ASIA'S DAY: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 dived 2.2 percent to 14,738.38 as the dollar tumbled against the yen. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.4 percent to 1,918.83. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.8 percent to 22,945.77 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 recoupled earlier losses to gain 0.2 percent to 5,254.90. China's Shanghai Composite slipped 0.7 percent to 2,356.50.

ENERGY SLUMP: The price of oil continued to fall to new lows. Benchmark U.S. crude was down 80 cents at $80.97 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 6 cents to close at $81.78 on Wednesday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar was trading at 106.15 yen, down from 107.03 yen late Wednesday. The euro fell to $1.2791 from $1.2816.

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