Asia stocks down after US revises growth data

November 22, 2011 - 9:20 PM

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stocks fell Wednesday after the U.S. government revised its economic growth estimate downward and climbing yields on Spanish bonds magnified worries over Europe's debt load.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 1.7 percent to 17,941.62. South Korea's Kospi lost 1.7 percent to 1,795.81 and Australia's S&P ASX 200 index lost 1.2 percent to 4,082.40.

Japanese stock markets were closed for a public holiday.

Stocks on Wall Street slipped Tuesday after a government report showed the U.S. economy grew at a 2 percent annual rate from July through September, down from an initial estimate of 2.5 percent. Economists had expected the figure to remain the same.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.5 percent to close at 11,493.72. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 0.4 percent to 1,188.04. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.1 percent to 2,521.28.

Higher borrowing costs for Spain, meanwhile, renewed worries about Europe's debt crisis. The higher rates suggest that investors are still skeptical that the country will get its budget under control despite a new government coming to power this week.

Investors have been worried that Spain could become the next country to need financial support from its European neighbors if its borrowing rates climb to unsustainable levels.

Greece was forced to seek relief from its lenders after its long-term borrowing rates rose above 7 percent on the bond market. The rate on Spain's own benchmark 10-year bond is dangerously close to that level, 6.58 percent.

But fears of the debt crisis spreading elsewhere in Europe were allayed somewhat after the International Monetary Fund announced a plan to provide quick cash on flexible terms to countries facing sudden financial stress.

Concerns remain that Europe's debt crisis is pushing the region toward recession, which would slow industrial activity in Europe and in countries around the world that export to Europe.

Benchmark oil for January delivery fell 65 cents to $97.36 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.09 to finish at $98.01 per barrel on the Nymex on Tuesday.

In currency trading, the euro fell to $1.3466 from $1.3509 late Tuesday in New York. The dollar rose slightly to 76.99 yen from 76.97 yen.