Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Asian markets tumble amid U.S. retail sales slide," CBC, May 14, 2009.

Asian stock markets tumbled Thursday as signs of distress among American consumers deflated hopes for a faster end to the global recession.

Every major market in Asia was hit by sharp losses, with Japan and Hong Kong indexes down around three per cent, as an aggressive nine-week advance started to reverse course.

The gains of 30 per cent and more in markets from Asia to the U.S. were driven by a theme of year-end economic revival. Investors had taken heart from less dismal news about the financial sector and industrial production, as well as government stimulus measures and rising liquidity.

But investors found little to pin their hopes on after the U.S. Commerce Department said overnight retail sales unexpectedly dropped in April for the second straight month. Separately, a private-sector report showed a troubling rise in home foreclosures.

Together, the reports painted a picture of a U.S. consumer still loath to spend as unemployment increases and the recession drags on.

  Japan's Sony Corp., which depends heavily on overseas markets, reported a $1-billion U.S. loss for the fiscal year ended March, its first annual net loss in 14 years

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