TOKYO – Markets fell broadly in Asia on Wednesday after a gloomy session on Wall Street, where shares of household names like appliance maker Whirlpool and athletic apparel maker Under Armour suffered their worst declines in years. Weaker oil prices also cast a pall.
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KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 edged 0.2 percent higher to 17,391.84, but most other regional benchmarks fell. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.8 percent to 23,364.26 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.5 percent to 5,359.80. South Korea's Kospi lost 1.1 percent to 2,013.89 and India's Sensex lost 0.8 percent to 27,865.25. Markets in Southeast Asia and Taiwan also fell.
WALL STREET BLUES: Disappointing third-quarter earnings from big name companies raised worries over consumer spending, a critical driver of U.S. growth. Sherwin-Williams had its worst day in seven years, losing 10.9 percent, while Whirlpool plunged 10.8 percent. Athletic wear maker Under Armour's shares sank 13.2 percent, its biggest drop in almost eight years. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.3 percent to 18,169.27, the Standard & Poor's 500 index gave up 0.4 percent to 2,143.16 and the Nasdaq composite shed 0.5 percent, to 5,283.40.
ANALYST VIEWPOINT: "U.S. equities turned lower overnight as the U.S. Consumer Confidence Index printed well below market expectations," Illka Gobius of OANDA said in a commentary. "We could see further pressure on equity markets because oil prices plunged in late N.Y. trade" after the American Petroleum Institute reported a much larger than expected buildup in U.S. crude inventories.
APPLE EARNINGS: After U.S. markets closed, Apple reported lower quarterly sales, another dispiriting factor given the many Asian manufacturers that are suppliers for the iPhone and other Apple products. "Apple's numbers after-market look quite uninspiring and we are seeing shares down 2.5 percent in after-hours trade," Chris Weston of IG said in a research note.
OIL PRICES: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 55 cents to $49.341 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 56 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $49.96 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, dropped 46 cents to $50.33 a barrel. It fell 67 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $50.79 a barrel in London.
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CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 104.18 yen from 104.12 yen. The euro rose to $1.0908 from $1.0879.
AP Markets Writer Marley Jay contributed to this report. He can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/marley-jay
Follow Elaine Kurtenbach: www.twitter.com/ekurtenbach