Chinese shares plunge after months-long boom, weak data hits other Asian markets

EnergyAssociated Press

Chinese stocks plunged Tuesday in a break from a months-long boom and other Asian markets were lower on concern about feeble Chinese trade and Japan's recession.

KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index dived 5.4 percent to 2,856.27 though it still was up 6.6 percent over the past week following a months-long rally. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 2.4 percent to 23,461.29 and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 0.7 percent to 17,813.38. India's Sensex declined 1.7 percent to 27,908.23. Seoul, Sydney and Bangkok also declined. Singapore and New Zealand were the only gainers.

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CHINESE MARKETS: Major Chinese oil and bank stocks fell, some by the daily limit of 10 percent allowed by regulators, as the market took a break from a buying frenzy that has pushed up the Shanghai benchmark by 41 percent since June. The four major state-owned banks all dropped by at least 9 percent and Sinopec Ltd., Asia's biggest refiner by volume, fell 8.2 percent. China Life Insurance Ltd. fell 10 percent.

GRIM DATA: Customs data released Monday showed China's November export growth was weaker than forecast and imports unexpectedly contracted. That suggested economic growth might be cooling further after hitting a five-year low in the latest quarter. Forecasters say a boost to growth from a surprise interest rate cut in November might not show up until as late as the second quarter of next year. For Japan, revised figures for the July-September quarter showed its economy shrank 1.9 percent, a bigger drop than previously estimated.

THE QUOTE: "The boost in sentiment from an upbeat U.S. jobs report faded as concerns about growth, especially in emerging countries, resurfaced," said Mizuho Bank in a report.

WALL STREET: The six-month-old decline in global crude prices dragged down shares in energy companies and raised concerns about headwinds for U.S. growth. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.6 percent to 17,852.48 on Monday and the broader Standard & Poor's 500 was off 0.7 percent at 2,060.31. The Nasdaq composite shed 0.8 percent to 4,740.69.

ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude shed 55 cents to $62.50 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged by $2.79 on Monday to close at $63.05. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 54 cents to $65.65, reaching a five year low.

CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 120.73 yen from Monday's 120.87 yen. The euro rose to $1.2344 from $1.2307.