Asian Stocks Fall

Asian stocks fell, paring the regional benchmark index’s rally this month, amid concern government stimulus plans worldwide will take longer than some investors expect to revive global growth., Bloomberg 3/31/2009 5:16:17 AM

Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Japan’s second-largest publicly traded bank, fell 4.6 percent even as the government prepared to unveil a new package to stimulate an economy where unemployment has surged to a three-year high. Woodside Petroleum Ltd. declined 2.8 percent in Sydney after Australia’s central bank said the economy is likely to enter a recession and oil plunged the most in four weeks in New York.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 1.1 percent to 81.18 as of 2:46 p.m. in Tokyo, extending yesterday’s 4 percent slump. Prior to declines in the past two days, the gauge had rallied as much as 14 percent in March, as governments from the U.S and Japan widened measures to ease the financial crisis. That would have given the index its best month since October 1998.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 0.8 percent to 8,170.81. South Korea’s Kospi Index climbed 1 percent. Stock markets in Asia rose, except in China, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.