Asian Stocks Decline

Asian stocks fell for a third day after Sony Corp. slashed its earnings forecast and South Korea's economic growth weakened, deepening concern a global slowdown is hurting demand for the region's exports.

Sony plunged 12 percent to the lowest level since 1995 after cutting full-year profit expectations for the second time in as many quarters. Samsung Electronics Co. lost 4.4 percent in Seoul on net income that fell the most in three years. Lotte Shopping Co., South Korea's biggest department-store operator, dropped for an eighth day as profit missed estimates and concern grew that the nation is heading for a recession. A slump in shipping rates drove China Cosco Holdings Company Ltd. down 9 percent.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 3.3 percent to 82.47 as of 11:45 a.m. in Tokyo. The gauge is set to lose 5.5 percent this week, the seventh drop in eight weeks, and close at its lowest level since May 2004. About 10 stocks fell for each that rose on the 990-member index today.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average slipped 4.7 percent to 8,060.08, as Sony led consumer-electronics makers lower. South Korea's Kospi index tumbled 5.3 percent, dropping below 1,000 for the first time since 2005. Stocks fell in other markets open for trading except New Zealand. Australian S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 126.60 points, or 3.9 percent in the early afternoon in Sydney. 

Yesterday, U.S. stocks rose for the first time in three days as a rebound in oil from a 16-month low bolstered speculation that the global economic slump won't worsen.

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rebounded from a 5 1/2-year low, gaining 11.33 points, or 1.3 percent, to 908.11. The Dow rose 172.04, or 2 percent, to 8,691.25. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 11.84, or 0.7 percent, to 1,603.91., Bloomberg
10/23/2008 8:45:18 PM