Japan, Thai stocks lead Asian declines; banks buoy South Korea

Business Materials 28 November 2008 03:47 (UTC +04:00)

Japanese and Thai stocks fell in Aisa after Toyota Motor Corp.'s debt rating was cut and anti- government protesters shut Bangkok's main airport. South Korean banks gained after regulators said risks are being controlled, TehranTimes reported.

Thai Airways International PCL sank 6.4 percent. Rio Tinto Group slumped 33 percent, leading Australian shares lower, after BHP Billiton Ltd. dropped its takeover bid for the rival miner. Woori Finance Holdings Co. surged 15 percent in Seoul.

"Companies that have kept their balance sheets in order and have stronger business models will get through this better," said Hugh Dive, Who helps manage about $3 billion at Sydney-based Investors Mutual Ltd. "We're seeing the cleansing fire of capitalism and not every company deserves to survive."

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.3 percent to 79.78 at 2:38 p.m. in Tokyo. About the same number of stocks fell as gained. The measure surged 4.1 percent on Tuesday, the biggest in three weeks, fueled by a surge in commodity prices and the U.S. government's rescue of Citigroup Inc.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 0.7 percent to 8,269.70. Other Asian benchmark indexes were mixed.

U.S. stocks advanced for a third day on Tuesday as the Federal Reserve committed an additional $800 billion to unlocking credit markets. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index swung between gains and losses more than 20 times before closing 0.7 percent higher. Futures on the index lost 0.6 percent in trading on Wednesday.