Date: Thursday 14 Jun 2012
Stocks in Hong Kong and Tokyo retreated on Thursday in the wake of poor US retail sales figures and a downgrade of Spain's credit rating and as traders gear up for key Greek elections on Sunday.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed down 18 points at 8,568 in Tokyo while the Hang Seng index declined 218 points at 18,808.
Markets in Asia mirrored steep losses on Wall Street overnight as investors mulled surprisingly weak retail sales data. Sentiment was further soured after Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Spain’s sovereign-debt rating to Baa3 from A3 and placed the country on review for another potential downgrade.
Nerves continued throughout Thursday's session in Asia amid uncertainty ahead of greatly anticipated elections in Greece.
Investors are also keeping their eye on Italy as it holds a key bond auction later today.
Stocks on the move in Tokyo included exporters such as Toyota and Nissan which both fell around 1%. Hitachi lost 1.7% while Toshiba retreated 2%.
Renesas Electronics was a rare gainer, up as much as 16% on new that it is in talks to secure a ¥50bn bank loan.
In Hong Kong, heavyweight China Mobile dragged 1.57% while China Unicom lagged 2.18%.
Belle International dropped 3.08% while logistics company Li & Fung fell 2.2%.
Financials were mixed with HSBC down 0.38%, Bank of China up 0.36% while China Life fell 2.38% Ping An Insurance surrendered 1.48%.
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