31 Mar 2009

Asia-Pacific markets down

10:04 pm on 31 March 2009

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were down on Tuesday.

In Japan, share prices were 1.54% lower after briefly trading in positive territory as worries over the American auto and financial sectors weighed on investor sentiment.

The benchmark Nikkei-225 index shed 126.55 points to 8,109.53, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares fell 15.88 points or 2.01% to 773.66.

The economic fallout from the financial crisis is still taking a big toll on many economies, with data from Japan showing unemployment rising to a three-year high as the country's grapples with its worst recession since the Second World War.

Many stock markets have thrashed in ranges near last year's lows, with investors cautious about calling a turnaround as the global economy remains mired in a deep recession.

The New Zealand benchmark index fell 51 points, or 1.95%, to 2590.

Top stocks were lower. Telecom was down 4 cents to $2.28, Contact Energy fell 14c to $5.72, while Fletcher Building slid 45c to $6. However, Rubicon rose 10c to 65c after a partial takeover offer.

In Australia, the share market was only moderately lower, with financial stocks giving up their gains from last week's rally.

At the 1615 AEDT close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 had dropped 22.3 points, or 0.62%, to 3,582.1, while the broader All Ordinaries lost 21.9 points, or 0.62%, to 3,532.3.