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Asia stocks fall on Spain, US earnings worries

Associated Press Modified: October 9, 2012 at 9:45 pm •  Published: October 9, 2012

BANGKOK (AP) — Worries about Europe's debt crisis, signs of weak global growth and expectations of lower U.S. corporate earnings sent Asian stocks down on Wednesday.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index tumbled 1.7 percent to 8,625.26. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 0.4 percent to 20,850.25. South Korea's Kospi lost 1 percent at 1,958.41. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.4 per cent to 4,488.30.

International Monetary Fund said Tuesday that Spain's economy — already in double-dip recession — will contract by 1.3 percent next year — more than double its previous prediction.

Spain, with near 25 percent unemployment, has introduced a series of austerity and labor measures in a desperate bid to bring down its deficit and convince investors it can manage its finances without outside help.

Madrid is now pushing for the European Central Bank to intervene in the secondary market and bring down its borrowing costs, but the ECB insists the country must formally apply for aid first.

"Spain remains the major focal point and in this regard there is no progress in the country moving forward with a bailout request," analysts at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong said in a market commentary. "The market tone will continue to remain cautious but we don't expect a major relapse in risk appetite."

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