Asian markets follow Wall Street down
Asian markets were universally lower Tuesday after a down day on Wall Street amid concerns about fourth-quarter corporate earnings, falling oil prices and ongoing woes in the auto industry, reported CNN.
Australia's All Ordinaries index dropped 0.7 percent, however, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index slipped 3.4 percent, and Seoul's KOSPI index tumbled 3 percent.
The Shanghai composite index fell 4.5 percent, as investors reacted to the People's Bank of China's reported lowering of its benchmark 1-year lending rate from 2.52 percent to 2.25 percent.
Tokyo's Nikkei exchange was closed.
Japan reported a 223.4 billion yen ($2.5 billion) deficit in November, according to the Finance Ministry. Global exports were down 26 percent, while exports to the United States slumped 33 percent.
"Japan's economic conditions have been deteriorating," the Bank of Japan said in a report released Monday. "Exports have decreased. Corporate profits have continued to decrease, and business sentiment has also deteriorated."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.7 percent, or 59.42, to 8,519.69. The Standard & Poor's 500 index dipped 2 percent to 871.63 and the Nasdaq composite was down 1.8 percent to 1,532.35.
Stocks languished for most of the morning before falling sharply in the afternoon, as oil prices fell below $40 a barrel, sending shares of Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil lower and weighing on the Dow. But the major indexes recovered some ground near the closing bell.
European markets also slipped solidly into negative territory on Monday, following news of a deepening recession in Japan and slumping sales at Toyota.
The continent's major markets -- London, Paris and Frankfurt -- were all down more than 1.5 percent.
The days before Christmas bring U.S. reports on housing, the GDP, personal income and spending, and the latest reading on initial unemployment claims.
Trading could also be volatile with many investors out for the Christmas holiday. U.S. markets will close early Wednesday and will remain closed on Thursday.