Asian stocks decline after plane crash

HONG KONG - Asian markets slumped Friday morning, extending a dip in U.S. stocks after Israel launched a ground offensive in Gaza and a passenger jet crashed in Ukraine.

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Japan's Nikkei tumbled by 1.4%, followed by a 0.7% drop on Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index.

Markets in Malaysia fell 0.4%, with aviation stocks taking a hit after a Malaysia Airlines plane crashed in a rebel-controlled part of Ukraine on Thursday, just four months after Flight 370 disappeared. Malaysia Airlines slipped over 13% in morning trading, and Malaysia Airports dipped nearly 5%.

The Boeing 777 was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Jittery investors are keeping an eye on unfolding details about the plane and Israel's new ground assault in Gaza.

U.S. stocks had a rocky Thursday -- the Dow closed down almost 1%, the S&P 500 declined about 1.2%, and the Nasdaq slid 1.4%. It was the biggest drop for the Dow in two months, and the S&P's fall was the steepest in three months.

Market anxiety was also reflected in gold prices, which edged 1.5% higher and silver by 2%. The VIX index, a measure of market volatility that's sometimes called the "Fear Gauge," spiked nearly 36%.


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