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Thursday, October 23, 2008 2:35 AM

Asian Stocks Drop To 4-Year Low

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Please consider consider Asian Stocks Drop to 4-Year Low on Growth Concerns

Asian stocks slumped, sending the region's benchmark index to the lowest level in four years, as Japanese exports missed estimates and commodities prices tumbled, deepening concern the global economy is headed for recession.

Mazda Motor Corp. plunged the most since 2000 as the yen surged against the euro and Japan's September exports rose a third as much as projected.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 4.4 percent to 83.96 of 12:22 p.m. in Tokyo, set for the lowest level since May 2004. The gauge has plunged 47 percent this year.

South Korea's Kospi index plunged 8.6 percent as the won continued a meltdown sparked by concerns about the nation's financial and economic health. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell below 14,000 for the first time in three years.

The Nikkei only needs to fall about 600 points to be back at a level last seen in 1982. The generation since then saw both the rise of Japan as a manufacturing superpower and subsequent deflationary spiral that hindered growth for more than a decade.
For more on the Yen and other currencies see US Dollar, Yen, Treasuries Soar In Risk Aversion Moves.

The most striking thing to ponder is that it has been nearly two decades since the Japanese stock market peaked in 1990. After 19 years the Japanese stock market is down a whopping 78%!

Think that can't happen here? I will explore the question in my next post.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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