Asian Financial Stocks Fall

Asian financial stocks fell, countering gains by the region's chipmakers, as a U.S. bailout of American International Group Inc. failed to ease concerns that credit-related losses will cause more financial failures.

Macquarie Group Ltd. slumped 7.8 percent in Sydney even after denying a newspaper report that the company may face difficulty in refinancing debt. Finance stocks gave up gains today after CNBC reported that Morgan Stanley was considering seeking a merger partner. Hynix Semiconductor Inc. jumped 9.9 percent after a bid from Samsung Electronics Co. for U.S.-based SanDisk Corp. raised speculation that product prices will rise.

Most markets in Asia retreated, with China's CSI 300 Index and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index both declining 3.6 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1.2 percent to 11,749.79.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed at 110.30 as of 7:14 p.m. in Tokyo. The measure plunged the most in eight months yesterday as credit turmoil pushed Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. to bankruptcy, and caused a debt-rating downgrade of AIG. The regional gauge is down 30 percent this year.

U.S. stocks climbed, driving the Standard & Poor's 500 Index 1.8 percent higher, as speculation AIG would weather a funding shortage boosted financial shares in the last hour of trading. S&P futures fell 1.1 percent today.

The U.K.'s benchmark stock index, the FTSE 100, rose 0.84 percent at 8:05 a.m. The index of 102 stocks traded on the London Stock Exchange rose 42.20 to 5,067.80. Among the stocks in the index, 64 rose, 33 fell and 5 were unchanged.,
9/17/2008 5:19:43 AM