Asian stocks fall after worries about global growth weigh on US, European shares

Energy Associated Press

Asian stock markets were mostly lower Monday after concerns about global growth weighed on U.S. and European share prices.

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KEEPING SCORE: Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 fell 2.6 percent to 5,036.80 points and Seoul's Kospi lost 1.6 percent to 1,963.20. Hong Kong's Hang Seng retreated 1.2 percent and Singapore, Bangkok and New Zealand also declined. The Shanghai Composite Index crept up 0.5 percent to 3,114.86. Financial markets in Japan are closed for a three-day holiday.

GLOBAL GROWTH WORRIES: Investors took the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to postpone an interest rate hike as a sign the global economy is weak. The Fed cited low inflation, weakness in the global economy and unsettled financial markets. Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen mentioned concern over China's growth slowdown.

THE QUOTE: "Does holding the line mean the Fed knows something we don't?" said Evan Lucas of IG Markets in a report. "If emerging market risk coupled with a low growth European environment is affecting Fed decision making, sentiment uncertainty will amplify — and it did during the U.S. trading session, with a massive sell-off on Friday."

US, EUROPEAN DECLINES: The sell-off spread from Europe to the United States. On Wall Street, the Standard and Poor's 500 index suffered its biggest loss in two weeks; all 10 industry sectors of the gauge fell. On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average ended down 290.16 points, or 1.7 percent, to 16,384.58. The S&P 500 slumped 32.17 points, or 1.6 percent, to 1,958.03 and the Nasdaq composite shed 66.72 points, or 1.4 percent, to 4,827.23. In Europe, Germany's DAX fell 3.1 percent while the CAC-40 in France dropped 2.6 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 ended the day 1.3 percent lower.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 35 cents to $45.03 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged $2.22 on Friday to close at $44.68. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 33 cents to $48.56 in London. It dropped $1.66 the previous session to $48.23.

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CURRENCIES: The dollar declined to 119.80 from Friday's 119.99. The euro was steady at $1.13.